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Exercise and Fitness

Sore and On-Edge

03/15/2011

Question:

I`m 50. Recently started lifting and find that my muscles are sore and I`m on edge with people-- short in my responses, less patient with others. Are these typical syymptoms of my body reacting to my lifting?

Answer:

First and foremost congratulations on beginning a new exercise program, particularly one that incorporates resistance training. We know the number one reason older adults lose functional capacity later in their lives is due to the loss of skeletal muscle mass, and resistance training is the best way to maintain muscle mass and remain independent.

It is common, and even expected, that someone who has recently started to perform unaccustomed resistance training exercise will experience soreness in their skeletal muscles involved in the exercise. Resistance training causes tiny micro-tears to the muscle, and although this is normal, and will repair normally, it is the primary reason for soreness and perhaps even a little swelling at first. As you continue on with your program, the soreness will recede and go away; this is a sign your skeletal muscles are adapting to the activity and becoming stronger.

Your shortness of temper and overall edginess is a sign you may be overdoing your new exercise routine and are simply over-fatigued. We know when athletes are over trained and fatigued, they often become edgy and easily frustrated. Be sure you are not doing too much too quickly, and that you are allowing your body enough time to recover. Getting enough sleep at night is also essential to avoid exercise-induced fatigue.

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Response by:

Steven T Devor, PhD, FACSM Steven T Devor, PhD, FACSM
Associate Professor of Sport & Exercise Sciences and Physiology & Cell Biology
School of PAES
The Ohio State University