How Long Do Workout Pains Last?

New to working out? Here’s how long you can expect those workout pains to last.


Working out can be painful, but it’s important to understand that pain isn’t always a bad thing. Muscles will naturally ache and soreness is an indication that your body is adapting to whatever exercises you’re doing. While these pains should not be so intense or last too long, understanding what causes them and how to manage them can help make your workouts more bearable. This guide will answer the question of how long workout pains last and explore what steps you can take to minimize discomfort and make sure you don’t overwork your muscles.

When it comes to workout-induced pain, it is important to distinguish between acute pain and delayed onset muscle soreness (or DOMS). Acute pain usually happens during or shortly after physical activity due to overexertion, improper form, injury or simply fatigue. It generally subsides quickly with simple rest, but in some cases might require ice or heat treatment as well as medication such as ibuprofen. DOMS on the other hand occurs around 24-48 hours after exercise, usually at its peak intensity anywhere from 24-72 hours post workout. This type of pain is more mild than acute pain and disappears with proper rest without necessarily needing treatment or medications outside of simple over-the-counter ones such as ibuprofen if necessary.

Types of Workout Pains

Before we can discuss how long workout pains last, it’s important to understand the different types of pain you may experience during exercise. Generally, there are two types of workout pain. Acute pain occurs during exercise due to the muscles being pushed to their limit. Delayed-onset muscle soreness, also referred to as DOMS, is felt after exercise and is caused by the muscles being worked at a higher intensity than they’re used to. Both of these types of workout pains have different effects on the body, and it’s important to understand the differences in order to mitigate the discomfort.

Muscular Soreness

A common type of workout pain is muscular soreness, which is commonly referred to as “delayed onset muscle soreness” (DOMS). It usually appears 12-24 hours after a physical activity and can last up to three days. The most common kinds of pain during this type of soreness are stiffness, tenderness, and general muscle fatigue. The intensity and duration of the soreness vary depending on how strenuous the activity was, your current level of fitness, and the levels of lactic acid in the muscles. To help relieve this type of workout pain, you can try taking a hot shower or bath, stretching or foam rolling post-workout to relax tight muscles, or using compression clothing/gear that helps promote blood flow to the areas experiencing pain.

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) is a common type of exercise-related pain that can occur immediately or up to 72 hours after a rigorous or intense workout. It can affect any muscle group and is often accompanied by swelling, tenderness, and stiffness. DOMS usually results from the muscle fibers being stretched beyond their normal range of motion, causing the muscle to become inflamed and painful. Although it is generally short-lived, lasting anywhere from two to seven days depending on the individual’s activity level and recovery protocol, it can also be chronic if not properly addressed. The discomfort associated with DOMS can decrease one’s motivation to continue participating in physical activity; as such, knowing how to prevent and manage this type of pain is important for any exercise enthusiast hoping to maintain a consistent daily workout routine.

Causes of Workout Pains

Workout pains are a normal part of exercising. It is usually caused by a buildup of lactic acid in the muscles, which can lead to soreness and fatigue. Other causes of workout pains include muscular imbalance, overuse of muscles, and poor form while exercising. In this article, we will look at these causes of workout pains and how to prevent them.

Micro-tears in Muscles

Workout pains, sometimes referred to as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), result from microscopic muscle tears that are produced during exercise. These tiny tears occur when a muscle or muscles are subjected to any new activity or working at an intensity that hasn’t been experienced before. When these microscopic muscle fibers tear, they become swollen and injured, leading to DOMS. This is why you often feel sore up to 48-72 hours after the actual workout (even though the pain typically peaks about 24 hours later).

The severity of workout pains varies depending on the intensity level of your exercise routine and how much strain you put on your muscles. Activities that involve high intensity and sudden, intense bursts of energy can place more strain on the muscles, leading to greater amounts of DOMS. Other activities that increase the risk for DOMS include any type of sport with a lot of pivoting or turning motions (such as tennis) and strength exercises that require heavy lifting. That being said, it’s important to note that even moderate exercises such as walking can cause some degree of soreness due to their repetitive nature.

It’s important not to ignore the signs of DOMS since ignoring this type of pain can lead to chronic injuries down the road. A good rule of thumb is to reduce your activity level when you start feeling too sore until the discomfort subsides or slowly increase intensity without aggravating it further if possible. Other treatments such as gentle stretching, ice packs and heat treatments also help reduce pain and speed up recovery so you can get back into your fitness routine faster.

Lactic Acid Build-up

One of the most common causes of workout pain is lactic acid build-up. When you perform strenuous physical activities, your body uses up glycogen and glucose from your muscles and bloodstream to create energy. During this process, the body produces a byproduct called lactate, or lactic acid. This naturally occurring chemical is important for helping to fuel muscle contractions, but when it accumulates faster than it can be metabolized and removed by the bloodstream and liver, it can cause intense pain in the working muscles.

Lactic acid build-up can cause short-term pain known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) as well as longer-term pain caused by inflammation that may last for a few days after exercise. It is typically felt in the arms and legs, and typically becomes more intense 24–48 hours after exercising. To reduce lactic acid build-up during exercise you should warm up before performing any kind of physical activity and avoid pushing yourself too hard when starting out with a new routine. Additionally, stretching after your workout routine is also important to help flush away lactic acid buildup in your muscles along with any other metabolic waste that may have accumulated during exercise.

Treatment for Workout Pains

Exercise-related pain can be unnerving, but it doesn’t have to be a permanent issue. There are a number of treatment options and ways to manage post-exercise muscle soreness. From stretching to massage therapy, let’s explore the different approaches you can take to address workout pain.

Active Recovery

Active recovery is a period of rest and light exercise following physical activity that allows your muscles to fully recuperate. Examples of active recovery activities include dynamic stretching, foam rolling and low-intensity, low-impact exercises such as walking or swimming. These activities help maintain blood flow to the muscles, reducing stiffness and soreness. Depending on the intensity of activity you are recovering from, active recovery may last from several days to a week or more.

The duration and intensity of your active recovery plan should be individualized to reflect your activity level, conditioning level and goals — with the aim being to maintain mobility, decrease swelling and restore muscle function. It is important to maintain adequate hydration throughout this process for optimal performance and health benefits. Additionally, you may use supplements such as antioxidants during this period in order to accelerate healing time.

Rest and Sleep

When you work out, it’s essential to give your body time to recover. Rest is key to not only easing the soreness, but it helps the healing of the muscles and helps prevent future injuries or pains. That’s why it’s important not just to rest after an intense workout, but also throughout your daily activities.

In addition to rest, getting plenty of sleep can help your muscles recover as well. Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep per night when possible. Your body needs this time in order to effectively heal itself and restore its energy levels for the next day’s workout.

When aching muscles are causing pain, you can use techniques like gentle stretching or light massage with a foam roller or tennis ball to help release that tension and provide relief from soreness. Heat packs are also beneficial when trying to alleviate stress from muscle pain as they increase blood circulation in that area and reduce tension. However, don’t use heat if any swelling is present as water-filled icepacks are more effective in helping reduce inflammation from overuse injuries such as strains and sprains.


Hydration is essential to maintaining muscles and preventing workout-related aches and pains. Proper hydration before, during, and after exercise helps replace lost fluids, prevent muscle cramps, lubricate joints, reduce fatigue and regulate body temperature.

Adequate hydration should be based on dynamic sweat losses – how much you sweat in a day can vary widely by individual as well as environmental heat/humidity. Staying educated on the right amount of water for your physical activity is key; for example, for shorter or less intense activities lasting one hour or less (such as walking or jogging) the recommendation is 16 oz before and 8-12 oz every 10-20 minutes during activity. For endurance activities lasting over one hour (such as running a long distance race), athletes should drink 20-30 oz of fluids 2 hours prior to activity, 7-10 oz every 10-20 minutes during activity, and 16+ ounces for every pound lost after finishing their workout.

Correct fluid intake prior to exercising also prevents dehydration which can cause high levels of fatigue, weakness or dizziness. Make sure to fuel up with plenty of water before any exercise!


Assuming that your workout pains are a result of an injury, proper nutrition plays an integral part in the recovery process. The body needs certain nutrients to repair and rebuild the affected muscles, tendons and ligaments that have been damaged during an injury.

When dealing with workout pains, it is important to make sure you are consuming adequate amounts of protein in order to promote tissue repair. Protein sources such as fish, poultry, eggs and dairy products can help to promote immense recovery within the body. Eating a healthy balance of complex carbohydrates and healthy fats also helps fill in any nutritional gaps left during the healing process. Additionally, it is essential for athletes or workout goers who experience muscle soreness to consume enough electrolytes and water in order to optimize hydration levels in the body which further helps alleviate muscle soreness.

Overall when it comes down to treating workout pains through nutrition, try your best not too overexert yourself or overdue any one thing as this can lead too further injury or severe soreness like DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness). Consume balanced meals with enough nutrients and give your body time to rest – typically 24 hours (depending on each individual) after a hard session so that it can adequately heal itself!

Duration of Workout Pains

Workout pains, otherwise known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), are common symptoms that most people experience when they are starting out at the gym or doing a new exercise. This soreness typically lasts a few days and can range from mild discomfort to severe pain. How long the workout pains last, however, will depend on the individual and the intensity of the workout. In this article, we’ll cover some tips that can help minimize the duration of these workout pains.

Muscular Soreness

Whether you’re a novice or advanced exerciser, feeling sore after workouts is not uncommon. This type of discomfort typically occurs 12 to 24 hours after physical activity and is caused by micro-tears in muscles and connective tissues. Such post-workout pain can last anywhere from 2 to 7 days and usually disappears with proper rest and recovery.

Muscular soreness may be more prominent when performing strenuous exercise for the first time or if the intensity of your workout has increased suddenly. As your body becomes accustomed to certain movements, the effects of soreness may be lessened over time. To optimize recovery, take 1 to 2 days off in between gym sessions for each muscle group so that your muscles have time to repair and strengthen before being challenged again.

Some telltale signs that you have experienced muscle fatigue include aching, tenderness, stiffness upon movement, redness in surface tissue area, localized swelling at the site of injury (of the musculature and/or tendons), loss of strength/range of motion in joint/s involved in activity involving movement pattern(s). A key strategy for reducing post-workout aches is using an ice pack over affected muscles as soon as possible following exercise — this helps reduce inflammation and decrease injury healing time. Lastly, consuming adequate amounts of protein before and after exercise will help repair muscle cells faster.


Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is the pain or discomfort felt in the days after a workout. It is common for individuals to experience some muscle soreness for up to 24-48 hours after physical activity. The degree of DOMS can vary widely, depending on the exercise, intensity, and unfamiliarity with a new exercise program.

Although it is uncomfortable, experts generally agree that DOMS is beneficial as it serves as a reminder to stretch and warm-up before exercising as well as a sign that the body is adapting and getting stronger due to the previous workout. Generally, regular exercisers get used to the sensation and will experience fewer pains over time.

To reduce the recovery period, experts suggest slowly adding exercises into your routine rather than beginning with high intensity workouts right away; immediately cooling down following strenuous activities; staying hydrated throughout your workout; stretching after your warmup and cooldown; warming up before beginning intense activities; properly fueling your muscles with carbohydrates before exercising; and eating foods high in protein shortly after you finish your routine.


In conclusion, workout pains vary greatly in terms of intensity and duration. Generally speaking, these types of muscle aches can last anywhere from a few hours to several days, and the amount of discomfort that is experienced will depend on the type of activity and the individual’s level of fitness. Allowing your muscles ample time to rest between workouts and utilizing proper pre-workout stretching routines can go a long way in preventing excessive soreness. Additionally, taking hot showers or baths and using topical analgesics such as massage oils may also help ease any existing muscle pain.

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