Excessive Soreness After Exercise

Updated on May 09, 2012
E.M. asks from Chicago, IL
8 answers

I get extremely sore after exercise. This runs in may family. I also have somewhat weak ligaments and am not very muscular. Great combo, right? Needless to say, I've never like working out, because it is difficult for me to recover. I sometimes can get so sore I feel nauseous or get headaches.

Luckily, I also inherited very low cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure. I've never been fat. So, I've been able to get away with a sedentary lifestyle for years. However, I am now over 40 and would like to lose the 10 lbs I've gained since becoming a stay-at-home mom in the suburbs. (Let's face it...one walks a lot when living in the city and I now spend most of my time in the kitchen preparing meals for somebody!)

Last week, I started going to the gym. I started slow. Just a combo of elliptical and walking on the treadmill for about 30-40 minutes total. I went 4x last week and again on Monday. Well, since then I've had a back spasm and now one of my hip flexor is out of whack. Seriously, who gets like this from WALKING? It's not like I'm a couch potato -- I take care of 2 little kids all day.

I need some advice. I've heard that I should drink lots of water, that massage helps prevent soreness before it starts (but who can afford a massage after every workout?), and to stretch AFTER exercise, rather than before. Anyone have other suggestions? Should I see a professional? If so, what kind? Should I focus on muscle building first and then work up to cardio, so my muscles will be strong enough to pick up the slack from my weak ligaments?

TIA for any suggestions.

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answers from Chicago on

I was going to write my own response, but Christy J hit on every point I was going to make :-)

Good luck to you! It's always hard to start a new fitness routine.

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answers from Columbus on

A personal trainer might be able to help or talk to your doctor about the right types if exercise. I know some people that always hurt after using the ellipical and therefore don't, but I love it. Also stretch out afterwards, but not before. If you are just doing cardio that may help, if you use weights a little warm up before, but stretching. Pilates or yoga might be great for you too. Another thought would be swimming, low impact and great exercise.

It could also be that four days for just starting was a lot for your body. Chasing after kids all day is good exercise, but different than most things in the gym. I hope you find something that works and you can enjoy.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

I have been experiencing a lot of soreness after excercise since being sedentary for a while due to a surgery. Esp in the hip area. My phys therapist said that it was lax ligaments probably and she suggested building up the core and the legs/butt to help this. So maybe you should start with a gentle yoga to work your core and some leg and butt work.

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answers from Charlotte on

You haven't started slow. Slow is 10 minutes. Do the treadmill first. The elliptical works on different muscles than just walking. (I think the elliiptical is what hurt you.)

Also, don't walk too fast on the treadmill.

If I were you, I'd start with gentle stretches on the floor. Then add moderate speed walking. Don't add the elliptical until your hip is feeling better. And if that hip hurts when you walk, don't walk. You may have messed with your sciatic nerve and you might need to see an ortho doctor and get some PT. At least if you see a PT, she'll give you good stretching exercises to help.

Another idea is, if there is a pool at your gym, walking in the pool is easier on your muscles, so you could do that while you work on your muscles. That gives you some cardio while you are getting stronger.

I really do think that a PT is a good idea, especially with the pain you are in. (PT is expensive, but hopefully you've got good insurance.)


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answers from Dallas on

focus on protiens and yes, weight bearing exercises. It may be worth the $$ to work with a trainer for a month to get you on a good workout routine. AND never underestimate the power of ibuprofen. Seriously helps a ton while your body is going through that initial stage of soreness. Also sound like the back and hips you need more core strength (not just stomach, but the whole trunk of your body), so check out pilates classes.
Hope that hellps a bit. I am no professional just an old aerobics instuctor married to a part-time personal trainer. Other may have more current info to share:)

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answers from Syracuse on

40 minutes 4 X in the first week is NOT starting off slow, no wonder you are sore. I would start with 20 min. easy 2-3X week and gradually work your way up. If you can spend the money, I think you would really benefit from a personal trainer to get you started safely with your workouts and on a path to success. Strength/core training can so beneficial to you BUT you can easily injure yourself if you do it incorrectly, which is easy to do.

You should also do a warm-up before and after exercise, google- dynamic warm-ups for some great ideas.



answers from Minneapolis on

I use a supplement called glutamine for my muscle soreness. You can get it at any GNC or health food store. You drink it before and after you work out and it helps a lot. I life weights frequently and it helps with muscle soreness and tears.



answers from New York on

Yes the massage will help tremendously but also soaking in a hot tub with epson salt is your best friend. Even having an adjustible shower head with different settings so you can get the hot water to beat on your aching muscles.

Or if you don't feel like soaking or showering for long periods of time, invest in some icy hot, ben gay or tiger balm. Apply to the aching muscles and feel it working. NEVER USE THESE PRODUCTS DIRECTLY AFTER A SHOWER OR BATH. You would be very sorry for the burning sensation. Trust me I learned this the hard way.

I would definitely recommend working with a personal trainer or a physical therapist. I would go for the physical therapist first because it is likely the charge would be covered by your insurance and they also do massages too. So go to your doc, get a recommendation and the get to therapy and watch it work and change your body and your life.

Congrats on working out and getting physically fit.

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