SORE MUSCLES - WHAT DOES IT MEAN AND HOW DOES IT HAPPEN?
Sore muscle is nothing more than the accumulation of hydrogen ions (H+) in the muscles.
During prolonged physical activity, during aerobic work, our muscles consume energy (in the form of ATP) mainly from carbohydrates and fats. For example, when running long distances. However, when a particular type of effort lasts too long (or it is a short-term but very intense ) one of the organelles in our body – mitochondrium– is not supplied with the right amount of oxygen. Consequently, there are several biochemical anaerobic transformations. Under these conditions, our muscular system uses reserves of ATP, phosphocreatine and liver and muscular glycogen, which are then converted into pyruvic acid. Then, because of successive, numerous biochemical changes, it is reduced to lactic acid, the excess of which damages the protein structures in the muscle tissue. The result of these reactions is an increase in hydrogen ions (H+), lower pH levels of body fluids in our body, and thus noticeable muscle pain. Soreness last up to about 2 hours after intense workout, lactic acid is quickly neutralized and its concentration returns to its initial level. The acid-base balance of body fluids is recovered and homeostasis restored.
DELAYED ONSET MUSCLE SORENESS
In fact, muscle pain is caused by another interesting phenomenon called DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness). It is a syndrome of delayed pain in skeletal muscles caused by microdamage which happened during intense exercise. Micro-injuries are nothing more than mechanical damage to muscle fibers, which are rebuilt during the body recovery. This phenomenon usually lasts 48 – 72 hours after training and is dictated by the degree of training. The more adapted body, the shorter DOMS.
What actions should be taken to make the post-workout process more efficient? After the training is over, it is necessary to take care of proper recovery, rest and cells nutrition, because this is when recovery begins (strengthening of muscle fibres and micro-injuries recovery)
In conclusion, if you train systematically and increase the intensity of exercise, you will not do without muscle pain. It is a natural process, which, however, can be minimized with a conscious, systematic, and effective approach to holistic shaping of the body. Remember, adaptation is the key to success!
Written by: TOMASZ LEŚNIKOWSKI