14 Things to do if You Feel Tired
and Sore After Working Out


You’ve pushed yourself to the limit — jogging, lifting, dancing or whatever it is you do to exercise — and have no sooner wiped the sweat from your brow when it hits you: sore muscles and fatigue … the variety that make you wonder, “Why am I doing this to myself?!”

post-workout fatigue

It’s normal to “feel the burn” during your workout, but afterward you should feel energized — not tired and sore.

What causes sore muscles and fatigue after a workout? Many things, but often it occurs because you’ve exerted yourself and your body needs time to adjust.

To be fair, muscles soreness often doesn’t occur for 12 to 36 hours after a workout. This type of soreness, called delayed-onset muscles soreness (DOMS), is more likely to happen when you’ve just intensified your workout or started a new activity. It’s caused either by a buildup of energy waste products in the muscles or microscopic tears in muscle fibers.

With DOMS, you may think you’re out of the woods, and then be hit with muscles soreness, stiffness, weakness and fatigue.

Meanwhile, energy-wise it’s possible to still be “feeling the burn” from your workout for a day or more afterward. What causes this may actually be your brain — not your muscles. Researchers from the University of Cape Town in South Africa found that prolonged exercise increases blood levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6), a molecule that makes people feel tired, 60 to 100 times higher than normal.

This may, in fact, be your body’s way of telling you to slow down before any muscle damage occurs.

What to do so You Feel Great AFTER Your Workout

Exercise should, technically, make you feel more energized, toned and fit — not tired or sore. And while a little bit of fatigue and aches are normal, if you feel awful after you workout it’s a surefire way to quickly give up your routine. Here are 14 simple tips that you can use before, during and after your next workout to make sure you feel the way exercise is intended to make you feel: great!

  1. Make sure your body has fuel. Eating a small snack about an hour before your workout may help give you energy.
  2. Get enough sleep. If your body is truly tried, your workout will only exacerbate this feeling.
  3. When you start a new exercise routine, or increase intensity/duration, do so gradually.
  4. Take a few minutes to warm-up before your workout.
  5. After you workout, stretch your muscles.
  6. Don’t exhaust yourself. If you’re feeling completely out of breath or extremely fatigued, decrease the intensity of your workout.
  7. Give yourself time to recover. Avoid training the same muscle groups two days in a row.
  8. Drink plenty of water. Dehydration can lead to fatigue.
  9. Eat something after your workout. Eating a mixture of protein and complex carbs within 90 minutes of working out will help repair your muscles and give you energy. Some great snack ideas include nuts and fruit, yogurt or cheese and whole-grain crackers or a tuna sandwich on whole-wheat bread.

If you’ve already worked out and now feel sore, here’s what you can do to soothe your achy muscles:

  1. Try massaging the muscles on the opposing other side from the area that is hurting for several minutes (bringing blood away from the area that has inflammation and hurts).
  2. Apply a cold pack to the area in pain.
  3. Use a natural, proven topical gel that will relieve your pain in minutes.
  4. Give it time. Muscle soreness should go away on its own in a few days.
  5. Do some low-impact exercise. This increases blood flow to your muscles and can help to relieve soreness.

If pain persists, make an appointment to see if there is any serious muscle, or other concerns.



About.com: Sports Medicine