There are many benefits to exercise, including the potential for improved physical and mental wellbeing. However, there may also be some physical discomfort associated with these activities due to the stresses placed on the body.
When experiencing discomfort, it is important to understand the difference between exercise-related muscular soreness and pain. Muscular soreness is a healthy and expected result of exercise. Pain is an unhealthy and abnormal response. Experiencing pain may be indicative of injury.
In order to make physical improvements, your body needs to be pushed to an appropriate level where gains can occur.
Each person’s body has a different activity threshold dependent upon many factors, including age, baseline strength, and participation level. Remaining on the safe side of your threshold will result in muscular soreness. Exceeding your threshold will result in pain.
One of the expected outcomes of exercise, when done appropriately, is that this threshold will progressively increase. For example, when an individual begins running, their safe threshold may be 5 minutes of running. After several weeks of progressive increases in duration, this runner’s threshold may increase to 20-30 minutes.
To maximize your exercise gains and minimize injury risk, it is important to be realistic about your activity threshold and to be able to differentiate between moderate muscle soreness and pain.
Article from APTA MoveForwardPT.com