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How Long Should You Be Sore After a Workout?

how long should you be sore after a workout

For a lot of people who exercise, soreness afterward is a regular occurrence. This article examines how long post-workout soreness lasts and offers perceptions of what is seen as typical. It covers elements that can affect the length of pain as well as both immediate and delayed onset muscular soreness (DOMS). The article provides advice on how to handle and lessen stiffness after exercise to hasten recovery and avoid uncomfortable symptoms.


There are many causes of post-workout soreness, sometimes referred to as DOMS (delayed onset muscular soreness). The following are the primary causes of discomfort following exercise:

  • Muscle damage: Excessive activity may result in micro-tears in the muscle fibers, leading to muscle damage. This damage triggers an inflammatory response in the body.
  • Inflammation: To repair the damaged muscle tissue, the body releases inflammatory chemicals such as cytokines in reaction to muscle damage. Soreness is due to this inflammation.
  • Waste product accumulation: Lactic acid can build up in the muscles during exercise as a result of metabolic waste products. This accumulation may aggravate nerve endings and add to the discomfort.
  • Eccentric workouts: When opposed to concentric exercises, eccentric exercises like lowering weights or jogging downhill might result in more muscle injury and soreness.
  • New or intense activities: Participating in exercises that your body is not used to, as well as increasing the intensity or duration of your workouts, can result in increased muscular tension and soreness.

It’s crucial to remember that stiffness the day after a workout is a regular reaction to training and usually indicates that your muscles are adjusting and becoming stronger. However, it is advised to seek medical guidance if the soreness is severe, chronic, or coupled with other alarming symptoms.


Several variables can affect how long post-workout discomfort lasts. The following are some general principles:

Immediate discomfort: This refers to the soreness you could experience within the first 24 hours of your workout or very soon after. Usually, it results from a buildup of metabolic waste products and transient inflammation. The length of the acute pain is often brief, lasting from a few hours to up to 48 hours.

Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS): DOMS is characterized by more acute soreness and stiffness in the muscles and normally occurs 24 to 72 hours after an exercise. After exercise, DOMS often peaks 48 hours later. Although the time it takes for DOMS to go away can vary from person to person, it usually does so in 3 to 5 days. Sometimes, especially after harder or less familiar activities, DOMS can continue for up to a week.

Affecting Factors

It’s crucial to remember that these timetables are only rough approximations and that people may experience things differently. The length of post-workout soreness might vary depending on a number of factors, including:

  • Workout intensity and length: Workouts that are harder or last longer might cause more muscle damage and, as a result, last longer before feeling sore.
  • Fitness level and experience: Compared to people who are physically fitter, beginners or people who are not accustomed to regular exercise may feel more sore afterward.
  • Individual response to exercise: Everybody’s body reacts differently to exercise, and some people may be more likely than others to have long-lasting soreness.

Keep in mind that pain after exercise is a typical aspect of the muscle repair and adaptation process. If the soreness is severe, lasts too long, or is accompanied by other worrisome symptoms, it’s a good idea to get a proper evaluation from your doctor.

Reducing Post-Workout Soreness

Post-workout soreness management and reduction can help relieve discomfort and hasten recovery. The following are some tactics you can use:

  • Proper Warm-up: To get your muscles ready for the activities ahead, start your workout with a dynamic warm-up program. This can lessen post-workout aches’ intensity and length.
  • Gradual Progression: Over time, gradually increase the length and intensity of your workouts. More severe discomfort can result from abrupt increases in intensity. If you want to avoid causing significant muscle damage, let your body adjust gradually.
  • Ice or Heat Therapy: Ice or heat applied to painful muscles might offer momentary relief. While heat can encourage blood flow and relaxation, ice can lessen inflammation.
  • Massage: Massagers are useful instruments for easing post-workout discomfort. Electric massage guns lessen aches and pains, increase comfort and flexibility, and promote healing by providing impact, boosting circulation, releasing muscular tension, and promoting recovery.
  • Adequate relaxation and Recovery: Allow enough time for your body to relax and heal between workouts. Long-lasting soreness is less likely when muscles have enough time to recover and strengthen.


What is Normal Soreness following a Workout?

Why does it take days to feel sore after exercise? – YouTube

Emily Brook

Emily Brook

Hi, I'm Emily, a Health and Fitness Specialist with FivaliFitness. With years of experience in the fitness industry as a certified personal trainer, I am passionate about helping individuals achieve their health and fitness goals.

Whether you're new to fitness or an experienced athlete, our products and resources are designed to support and enhance your fitness journey. So, if you have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out to me at any time!

The information provided in articles written by Fivali is intended for educational and reference purposes only. The content on this website ( is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. We do not recommend self-diagnosis or self-treatment based on the information provided in our articles. Always consult a qualified healthcare professional if you have any concerns about your health or well-being.
If you are experiencing any symptoms or discomfort, we strongly encourage you to seek medical attention from a qualified healthcare professional. Only a licensed healthcare practitioner can provide an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan tailored to your individual needs.

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