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Should You Exercise When You Are Sore?

If you exert yourself at all during an exercise program, you know what sore muscles feel like. The technical term for that feeling is delayed onset muscle soreness, or “DOMS.” It’s caused by tiny tears that occur in your muscles, which then work to strength your muscles as they repair themselves.

If DOMS is bothering you the next day, it’s OK to go ahead and work out, as long as the pain isn’t uncharacteristically sore, according to Popsugar. Other suggestions include eating protein and alternating workouts.

Alternating exercises is an especially good move when you are working with weights, as it gives muscles you’ve worked out time to rest and heal — and get stronger. This is a perfect time, too, to consider what type of exercises are best for your body. For example, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) has been shown to improve lean body mass, while resistance training boosts muscle mass and strength.

And if you’re age 40 or beyond, take note: HIIT also counteracts age-related decline in muscle mitochondria. Exercise promotes mitochondrial health, as it forces your mitochondria to work harder. One of the side effects of mitochondria working harder is that they're making reactive oxygen species, or free radicals, which act as signaling molecules. One of the functions they signal is to make more mitochondria — which ends up benefiting your entire body.

HIIT and the similar high-intensity circuit training (HICT) can yield greater fitness benefits in less time compared to longer, low- or moderate-intensity workouts. In addition to promoting mitochondrial health, benefits include: fat and weight loss; improved VO2 max (the maximum amount of oxygen you can take in while exercising) and decreased insulin resistance.

One of the great things about HIIT is that you can tweak it to your needs. You can still get benefits from working out at a slightly lower intensity; you simply increase the time you work out to make up for it. This that even the elderly can benefit from a modified form of HIIT. The only difference is that the older you are the lower your maximum heart rate will be, and the more gradually you will want to increase your repetitions.
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