The soreness after a workout means you did it right. Most people think so and they are not far from being correct. Mild soreness is normal, especially when you have been adding extra exercises to the routine. Feeling pain when going up the stairs after the gym isn’t any sign of a good routine though. That is when you know you’ve been exercising too much and more pain will not result in extra muscle build up unfortunately. Besides that, muscle soreness is a huge demotivator.
Why do muscles get sore after workouts?
The burning sensation we start feeling during workouts is due to lactic acid which is a result of the muscle metabolism. It dissipates in 1-2 hours and it is not the main responsible for the soreness that starts to develop about 5 hours later. The DOMS — delayed muscle soreness — can last between 12 hours and 72 hours for those who over appreciated their own strength. DOMS occurs because the organism tries to fix the muscle inflammation that results from the workout. An influx of white blood cells, nutrients and prostaglandins which have anti-inflammatory effects rushes to fix what the organism interprets as muscle damage, and that is why you feel soreness.
Wait until the soreness goes away or exercise through it?
The muscles need a break in order to finish the process of growth, so while you are resting after the workout, your muscles are continuing the build-up process. If your muscles are still sore and you exercise over that, the workout will not be as effective.
The right way and schedule for workouts:
That depends on what you try to achieve. If you are just trying to keep a nice shape than two-three workouts for each muscle group per week should be enough. A workout must include a warmup, some stretching exercises, the workout itself and then a cooldown. Going through all these stages should save you from a part of the muscle soreness too, because that is how you get your organism ready for the strenuous 40 minutes.
Drinking water is something you naturally start thinking about during the workout, although by the time you feel thirsty and have sweated your organism is already dehydrated. There are specialists who advise drinking water 30 minutes before the workout and taking short breaks to sip more of it during the exercises.