Understanding Muscle Pulls or Strains
Placing too much demand on your muscles such as lifting heavy objects, moving quickly when playing sports or overdoing yard work can lead to a muscle strain, pull or tear. The damage can be to one or a group of muscles or it can involve a tear in the attaching tendons. Muscle aches can also be from injury to the ligaments and/or the fascia which is the soft tissue that connects muscles, bones, and organs. An injury can occur from a single stressful incident, or it may come on gradually due to repetitive activity. The shoulders and low back are common areas that can become sore due to overuse of the muscles.
Avoid Over Exercising
Too much or too vigorous exercise in one setting can also bring on muscle aches. When exercising, it is OK to feel some stiffness or soreness. You may also experience delayed onset soreness, which is muscle aches that occur 24 to 48 hours after your exercise session has ended. However, extreme soreness or pain is a sign that you overdid your session. The pain that is felt after your workout is caused by microscopic tears to the muscle fibers. If you exercise at an appropriate level, you may experience mild stiffness and soreness and these small tears are necessary as they allow the muscle to rebuild itself stronger then it was before your exercise session. However if your session was too vigorous, your pain will be worse and the muscle tears will take longer to heal.
Muscle aches after a workout can also be from a build up of lactic acid in the muscles. Lactic acid is a byproduct created when you are exercising hard and the body can not supply enough oxygen to the muscles fast enough.
Remember that exercise is supposed to make you feel better, not worse. If you are experiencing significant muscle aches after your workout, try backing off a bit or try another routine. If you are using machines, check with the staff at your gym and have them monitor your workout to make sure you are exercising correctly. Improper form and lifting techniques can often bring on unnecessary pain and discomfort.
Pay Attention to Stretching
Muscles aches and soreness can develop if you do not take the time to stretch. As the muscles become less flexible, more effort is needed to do daily activities. This puts additional strain on the muscles and can lead to tightness and injury. It is especially important to stretch your muscles after your workout. If you work out hard by running or lifting weights, your muscles will tighten. Taking time to stretch and relax the muscles will help to keep the muscles flexible. A good stretching routine will also help to reduce the amount of lactic acid that remains in the muscle after exercise, and the less lactic acid, the less soreness.
Being dehydrated can also bring on muscle aches and cramps. If there is not enough water and electrolytes present in the body, your muscles will not be able to perform correctly and you may experience muscle spasms and cramps. If you become dehydrated, your muscles may become tender and weak.
Get Adequate Nutrition
A poor diet often means an inadequate intake of essential nutrients. A lack of certain vitamins and minerals can lead to muscle aches. These include vitamin C, vitamin B1 (thiamin), potassium and calcium. All of the above are essential to help keep your body strong, allowing your muscles to contract to provide movement.