The Beauty of Sore Muscles

by Helen M. Ryan

There are times, a day or so after a really hard workout, when simply lifting my arms or closing my legs becomes a challenge. My body cries with each movement and I curse myself.

That level of muscle soreness (DOMS, or delayed onset muscle soreness) is rare if you’ve been working out for a while. When you first start exercising, or changing your workout, it’s a familiar feeling. (Good pain, as we weird people say. Good pain.)

But why is the pain good?

Because you know your muscles have been worked.

Who cares about the science behind it or why we feel sore? The true value of DOMS is how it makes us feel emotionally: We have challenged our bodies and our minds. This one day—our muscles screaming with every movement—is a day that we have broken free of past patterns, defied the odds, and moved our bodies in a way they aren’t used to.

With every wince we are reminding ourselves that we are strong, determined and alive.

That is good pain.

Go get it. And may the DOMS be with you.

Published January 14, 2011