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Sore Muscles After a Workout? What It Means & Sore Muscle Relief Tips

Man stretching sore shoulder muscle in park

Is it okay to exercise with sore muscles?

After starting a new exercise routine or increasing the intensity of your workout, you might notice your muscles feeling sore, achy, or a little weak. Muscle soreness is normal and, generally, it is okay to continue exercising with sore muscles if you are not in pain.

If sore muscles are making you rethink your fitness plans or hindering you from getting the results you want, this article discusses exercising with sore muscles and how to relieve muscle soreness fast with effective remedies like Doctor Hoy’s® Natural Pain Relief topicals, the best pain reliever for sore muscles after a workout.

Person using pain relief gel for sore back muscles

Why are my muscles sore after working out?

After a day at the gym, most people believe that sore muscles are a good sign their workout went well. When you push your body beyond what it’s used to doing, like starting a new exercise routine or working out harder for longer, microtears form in the muscles and connective tissues. This is part of a natural, normal process called Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, or DOMS.

Though you might also feel acute soreness during an activity, DOMS usually occurs within 24 to 72 hours after exercising. The affected muscle groups feel sore, achy, stiff, or even a little weak. As your body works to repair minor damages to the muscles, it can result in improved strength and thickening of those muscle fibers.

Muscle soreness is your body’s way of preparing itself to handle the physical tasks you’re asking it to perform by becoming stronger.

How to Relieve Sore Muscles

Understanding how to soothe sore muscles after exercise can reduce feelings of soreness so you can get back to the gym and continue working toward your goals. Easing into your workout and gradually increasing the intensity of your exercises can help stave off muscle soreness and make it easier to stick to your workout routine.

From natural, guaranteed pain relief in a sore muscle cream to healthy post-workout habits, check out the following methods for how to soothe sore muscles:

Sore Muscle Pain Relief Creams & Topicals

Pain relief topicals are a safe, effective way to relieve muscle soreness and inflammation. With a sore muscle cream or pain relief gel, you can avoid using NSAIDs that come with the risk of overuse and side effects. Doctor Hoy’s Natural Pain Relief topicals offer fast, effective, and long-lasting relief for sore back muscles, legs, shoulders, arms, and more.

Using natural ingredients, Doctor Hoy’s can be used for both pre-workout and post-workout relief from muscle soreness, aches, and pains. Ingredients like camphor and menthol create a warm-to-cool sensation that can improve blood flow while natural arnica stimulates circulation to aid in faster healing.

All Doctor Hoy’s topicals are non-staining, safe for repeated use, and absorb quickly for immediate relief. For clean, safe, and effective relief from sore muscles, try:

  • Doctor Hoy’s Pain Relief Gel: Ideal for targeting larger muscle groups, this topical gel warms and prepares the muscles before activity while aiding in post-workout recovery. Use our pain relief gel for soothing relief from muscle soreness, muscle cramps, backaches, strains and more.
  • Doctor Hoy’s Pain Relief Roll-On: Available in a convenient roll-on applicator, our pain relief gel roll-on provides the same soothing relief but in hard-to-reach areas like your back and shoulders.
  • Arnica Boost Recovery Cream: Doctor Hoy’s arnica cream is the best cream for sore muscles. The unscented formula has no sensation, making it safe for all ages and body parts, even sensitive areas. Arnica cream can help speed up post workout recovery, providing rapid relief from sore muscles.

Man applying sore muscle cream to arm

Take a Rest Day

Every fitness plan should include at least one rest day a week. Rest days are critical for muscle repair and recovery, allowing your body time to replenish itself so you can perform better during your next workout. You can have as many rest days as you need to start, then consider replacing some with active recovery exercises.  

Active Recovery Exercises

When you feel too sore for your normal workout routine, try some active recovery exercises instead. These low impact, low intensity exercises are a gentle way to stay active while allowing your body time to rebuild. They include yoga, tai chi, walking, swimming, leisure cycling, and resistance band training. 

You can also try switching up the muscle groups you work on each day to avoid working out the same muscles two days in a row. For example, if you worked your lower body muscles yesterday, focus on your shoulders or upper body the next day. 

Man standing on mat doing yoga

Massages or Foam Rollers

Massaging your muscles post-workout using a foam roller or massage device can help reduce soreness and fatigue. Manipulating the stressed muscles and tissues encourages blood flow, improves flexibility by releasing tension, and keeps fluids from building up inside.  

Post Workout Cool Down

At the end of every workout, use the last 5 to 10 minutes to cool yourself down and bring your body back to a resting state. Gentle stretching and exercises like walking after a run clears the lactic acid from your muscles which is responsible for the burning sensation you feel when working out. A good post-workout cool down session makes it easier to return to the gym the next day. 

Woman on exercise mat resting post-workout

Are Your Muscles Sore or Injured?

Muscle soreness is uncomfortable, but it should not be painful. Working out with sore muscles is okay, but you should avoid overdoing it, which may cause larger muscle tears, damage, or injury. Overtraining is not healthy and deprives the body of the rest and recovery time it needs to build strength. You might also experience fatigue, a weakened immune system, or have difficulties sleeping. 

DOMS can also limit your mobility during certain exercises, which might affect your posture when working out, also putting you at risk for injury. If you become injured or have pain that makes it hard to exercise, avoid or stop working out immediately. See your healthcare provider if your muscle soreness doesn’t go away after a couple of weeks. 

How long should you wait to workout after being sore?

As long as you are not in pain, you don’t have to wait to work out after being sore. If your sore muscles make it too hard to perform your normal exercises, either take a rest day or try a lower impact activity. When you do go back to the gym after resting your muscles, do a proper warm up routine with dynamic stretches that prepare your body for activity. 

Important to Note:

Individuals with health conditions like arthritis or fibromyalgia may have a difficult time dealing with muscle soreness and other types of exercise-related aches and pains. For those with arthritis, it can take 6 to 8 weeks for your joints to get used to working out per the CDC. 

Talk to your doctor before trying a new workout routine and consider using safe pain relief methods like Doctor Hoy’s, an FDA-approved pain reliever for arthritis. 

Soothe Sore Muscles with Doctor Hoy’s Natural Pain Relief

For fast and effective sore muscle pain relief, try Doctor Hoy’s natural topical analgesics. Great for both pre-workout and post-workout relief, Doctor Hoy’s Natural Pain Relief Gel and Arnica Boost Recovery Cream help you achieve your fitness goals by making it easier to exercise without the aches and pains of sore muscles. 

Man in athletic clothing outdoors applying pain relief gel to knee


Barrell, A. and Rush, T. (2022, January 12) Working out when sore: Tips, benefits, and risks. Medical News Today.

Chertoff, J. (2018, January 25). What You Should Know About Working Out When Sore. Healthline.

Pain During or After Exercise | CDC. (2021, November 18). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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