At one point, we’ve all done the wounded warrior walk through the streets — legs wobbling, muscles throbbing, arms swinging clumsily side to side to make up for the fact that your legs aren’t moving the way you want them to. Exercise weakens the body right after your done. The rest period is actually what makes your muscles stronger.
In order to make sure you’re getting the most out of your workout, you need to gauge when you’re too injured or sore to move on.
The first step is to identify what’s hurting. You don’t want to go to the gym and pump out push-ups if your arms can barely hold up a cup. If you’re sore and want to make sure you still have an active day, doing some light exercise like jogging or stretching can make all the difference in your recovery time. Light runs release the lactic acid build up in your muscles that result in the soreness you feel after heavy physical activity. The key to this remedy is making sure this easy exercise is just that — easy.
If the pain has exceeded soreness, it might be something a bit more serious. Working out when injured won’t do you any good and will end up doing more damage. Know how to gauge your pain and treat it like you would the opinion of a doctor. If a doctor tells you not to run because you have the flu, you’re not going to run. If it’s too painful to perform a full range of motion on a leg press machine, listen to your body and stay away from the weights.
Let pain be your guide. Sometimes it lets you know you’re getting stronger. But other times it’s telling you to cut yourself a break.