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Anyone who has exercised too much physical exertion or exaggerated it during exercise knows it: The muscles tweak the next day, especially during certain movements. They swell, harden and become sensitive to pressure, making you feel stiff. Unusual or heavy muscle stress causes muscle soreness - a sign of overwork.

How does sore muscles develop?

It used to be thought that it was a hyperacidity in the muscle. Today, however, sports physicians know that it is mainly about many tiny injuries in the microstructures of the muscle. These injuries cause inflammation and small swelling, which in turn leads to the well-known pain.

In addition, the muscle tension is increased after an overload and also helps to cause muscle soreness. Normally, the micro-lesions heal completely and the changes in the muscle regress.

There is no indication that frequent sore muscles cause injury. However, strains should be avoided during a muscle soreness. If the muscle is strained during this phase, there is a risk that it will be pulled and rupture even larger structures in the muscle. Frequent stress in these phases can also lead to irritation in other areas, such as the tendons.

Some sports are especially "muscle-cat-promoting", for example, those with extreme running and braking movements such as squash.

When the muscle gets sour - an outdated thesis

For energy, the muscle has the aerobic (with oxygen) and the anaerobic (without oxygen) metabolic pathway. The fuels used are carbohydrates and fats. In the aerobic route, these fuels produce water and carbon dioxide (CO 2 ), which are exhaled through the lungs. This requires oxygen. This route can be exploited during moderate stress such as walking.

With heavy loads the body needs more energy, which must be provided quickly. The oxygen transport is overwhelmed and it is resorted to the anaerobic metabolic pathway. The end product is lactate (salt of lactic acid). The more intense the muscle work, the more lactate is formed. Degradation of lactate to water and carbon dioxide in exercise situations is slower than lactate production in muscle cells. The result is an acidification of the muscle.

Mistakenly, this was previously thought to be the cause of muscle soreness. The hyperacidity hypothesis was rejected for two main reasons:

  • Soreness only occurs after a time delay for operation. At this time, lactate is already mined.
  • Sore muscles usually only occur when there is a high level of stress on an untrained body. However, lactate is also produced by experienced athletes.
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