Waking up to a mildly sore post-training body can be very satisfying if not slightly inconvenient experience. While it might be an indicator that you have sufficiently challenged yourself, it can also hamper your training intensity and even cause injuries if its severity is misjudged. When should you call it a day and rest? Here are some signs to watch out for:
Mild muscle soreness and stiffness may be a common occurrence the day after a hard training session. However, if you experience swelling and unusual levels of warmth surrounding the area concerned, you may be suffering from an injury. Obvious swelling is an obvious sign to take a break and to get yourself checked if necessary. In light of this, a good immediate course of action to take would be to apply the REST treatment method — Rest, Ice, Compress, and Elevate. Remember to protect your skin from irritation by wrapping a cloth around the cold compress.
- Be aware of differences in joint mobility
There can be a delay between injury and pain since cartilages have a relatively weak blood and nerve supply, which means that you may not feel the pain of an injury until several hours later. However, if you notice that your joints seem all knotted up and suffer from limited mobility the day after training, it might be a cause for concern.
- Monitor if your body is compensating
Sometimes, the area in which you feel sore may not be the source of the issue, but merely the victim. Instead, how other parts of your body compensate for the weaker areas may be indicative of an imbalance in action. For instance, a sore right leg can be the result of you habitually favouring your left leg in training. Any sudden increase in workload can easily turn soreness into an injury. While building a workout around multi-joint, compound movements is always recommended, it’s also a good idea to throw in some isolation auxiliary work to address weak points.
If you show one or more of the signs above, then you might want to consider taking a break. It can be difficult, especially if you have a time-based health goal to achieve. However, it is imperative to recognise how an untimely injury will only serve to set you back by weeks, and even months. Treat your body right by learning when to stop; you can always get back at it the next time around!