How Long Does Workout Soreness Last?

If you’re new to working out, you might be wondering how long that post-workout soreness is going to last. We’ve got the scoop on how long workout soreness typically lasts, and what you can do to speed up the recovery process.


Working out increases your strength, builds muscle and tones your body — all great benefits that often come with a tradeoff, especially for those new to weight training. That tradeoff is soreness, often referred to as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). It usually appears 12-24 hours after exercise and can last anywhere from a few days to weeks and even months in some cases. Although DOMS is a normal and expected result of physical effort, understanding its causes and exploring prevention strategies can help reduce the discomfort associated with it. This article will provide an overview of DOMS, discuss its causes and recommend prevention techniques to minimize the pain associated with it.

What is Workout Soreness?

Workout soreness is a normal consequence of exercising, typically resulting from pushing one’s body harder than usual. Usually occurring in the hours and days after exercise, it is typically caused by increased fabric tension in the muscles due to lactic acid build-up or micro traumas caused by pushing the muscle further than usual. In most cases, workout soreness will normally dissipate in a few days but can last up to one week or longer depending on how intense the workout was and how much rest is taken after exercise.

The most common type of workout soreness is delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS); this can start 12-24 hours after your workout and peak 36-48 hours later. Within 48 to 72 hours following exercise, this type of post-workout pain should reduce considerably as the body’s natural repair process takes place. An important factor to consider when managing DOMS is that it does not correlate with how hard you exercised; sometimes exercising at a lower intensity can produce more muscle aches than if you had completed higher intensity exercises.

Causes of Workout Soreness

Workout soreness is a common sensation that occurs after a tough period of physical exercise. It may range from mild discomfort to intense pain and can last anywhere from 24 hours to several days. This type of post-exercise muscle soreness is known as delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS, and is caused by microscopic tears in the muscles due to the strain of exercise. These tears are harmless and will eventually heal, but the process can take anywhere from 24 to 72 hours depending on how severe the workout was.

There are several factors that can contribute to workout soreness, including:
-Muscle fatigue: When your muscles become fatigued during strenuous activity, they may become overly stressed which can result in swelling or tenderness
-Injury or overexertion: Doing too much too soon can cause muscle damage from destroying existing fibers and disrupting tissue. This results in inflammation and pain.
-Lack of hydration: When you do not drink enough fluids during a workout session it increases your risk for injury and causes lactic acid buildup leading to post-workout discomfort.
-Inadequate rest: Not giving your body enough time for rest after workouts may contribute to increased levels of fatigue and soreness
-Dehydration: By not replacing lost fluids from sweat during exercise it weakens the bond between proteins which leads to an increase in pain

Symptoms of Workout Soreness

When engaging in physical activities, it’s not uncommon to experience muscle soreness afterwards. Workout soreness is caused when muscles endure more physical demands than they are accustomed to. It typically appears 24-48 hours after the workout and can last anywhere from 1-3 days after.

Common symptoms of mild workout soreness include muscle tenderness, reduced range of motion and feeling stiff or weak. Joints may also feel as if they require a warm-up before returning back to full range-of-motion. Light exercise such as low intensity jogging, walking and a light stretch will help to speed up the recovery process..

On the other hand, severe workout soreness will cause extreme muscle fatigue and pain, especially with movement. Pain may be felt up to 5 days post workout along with swelling in the affected area if inflammation has occurred. If extreme fatigue is present for an extended period of time (over 4 days) then it would be advised to rest and seek medical attention if needed.

Treatment for Workout Soreness

Treating workout soreness involves both short-term remedies, such as icing the affected area and taking an over-the-counter analgesic, as well as long-term strategies. While it isn’t always possible to avoid soreness altogether, there are ways to help reduce it:

1. Heat treatment – Soaking in a warm bath or using heat wraps before exercising can help loosen the muscles and increase their range of motion.
2. Massage – Massaging the affected area with a foam roller or trigger point ball can help relieve soreness and tension in the muscles.
3. Nutrition – Eating a healthy diet that includes proteins and carbohydrates before, during and after exercise will help your body recover more efficiently from a workout session.
4. Stretching – Stretching before and after your workouts will help maintain flexibility and prevent against future soreness episodes.
5. Sleep – Getting high quality sleep on a regular basis helps ensure that your body has enough time to rest and recover between workouts properly, reducing potential for muscle soreness episodes in the future.

Prevention of Workout Soreness

It is important to take steps to prevent excessive soreness when engaging in physical activity. This is best done through incremental increases in intensity, duration, and complexity of exercise movements. Before beginning a new activity or increasing the level of an existing activity, make sure to properly warm up with low-intensity movement that gradually becomes more vigorous. Practicing this progressive form of warmup allows for a more gradual adjustment for the body compared to only participating in intense exercise suddenly.

In addition to proper warmup, it is also important to ensure proper form when exercising. Good posture and maintaining control over each movement will help you ensure that you are exerting your muscles safely and not risking putting excessive strain on them. This can help reduce the risk of injury as well as reduce discomfort that comes from overextended muscles after exercise. Additionally, making sure your body is hydrated and strengthening opposing muscle groups can also help prevent excessive soreness after exercise or physical activity.

How Long Does Workout Soreness Last?

Workout soreness is a common part of any exercise regimen and is usually an indication that you’ve worked hard and put in an effective workout. That burning feeling you get in your muscles after an intense workout can often last anywhere from a few days to a week. While it can be uncomfortable, most experts agree that some degree of muscle soreness is a normal and even healthy part of exercising. Let’s take a look at workout soreness and explore how long it typically lasts.

Immediate Soreness

Immediate soreness, or delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), is the feeling of stiffness, tenderness and mild pain that is felt after exercise. This type of soreness typically begins two to four hours after the activity has taken place and can last for up to seventy-two hours with its greatest intensity twelve to twenty-four hours after exercise.

Interestingly, DOMS is caused primarily by eccentric movements, which are technically known as lengthening contractions. While these movements take place during normal activities such as running and climbing stairs, they are more likely to be responsible for soreness in activities like weightlifting where they occur more often. The tension involved in these movements can cause small tears in the muscles, which heals but results in a feeling of slight pain and weakness during regular movement.

DOMS commonly dissipates without any medical treatment required though light exercises like walking or cycling may help reduce the severity if done a few days after the initial workout. Usually the magnitude of DOMS reduces significantly within three to five days with complete resolution within seven days.

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness

Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is the type of muscle soreness that occurs after a workout, usually within 24 to 48 hours. This type of muscle soreness can range from minor discomfort to severe pain and usually peaks within 24 to 48 hours after a workout, subsiding by 72 hours following exercise. Pain can last longer in some cases and is largely dependent on the intensity of the workout and the person’s individual recovery rate.

DOMS is caused by damage or tearing of muscle fibers following an increase in physical activity or working out with heavier weights. Though exercise related inflammation can be triggered in numerous ways, such as performing high-intensity workouts or lifting more than you normally do, it can also occur following low-intensity activities such as going for a light jog or even doing yoga.

When experiencing DOMS, it’s best to prioritize rest and recovery with light stretching exercises. To help reduce inflammation, taking nonsteriodal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or aspirin may be recommended as well. The use of topical creams containing menthol for instant relief may also be beneficial for people experiencing DOMS.


The duration of workout soreness can vary considerably, depending on individual factors and the nature and intensity of the exercise. Generally, DOMS lasts between one to three days, but it can linger for up to a week, especially if the physical activity was particularly strenuous or prolonged.

Since everyone’s body responds differently to stress and recovery time may not be uniform, consistency is key. Knowing your fitness goals and understanding how your body reacts to exercise will help you gradually build up your overall fitness levels without pushing yourself too hard too fast. Taking enough rest days after an intense workout is important for allowing the muscles time to recover before engaging in more intense exercise again. Gradual progression allows the body to adjust any changes in physical activity levels which results in less “shock” when returning to exercise after a period of rest.

Checkout this video:

Similar Posts