Benign but unpleasant, body aches are diffuse muscle pains that usually appear between 12 and 48 hours after intense or unusual exertion, and which can last up to 72 hours. If the phenomenon is not serious, we would however like to do without it! It is concretely about microtraumas or microlesions undergone by the muscular fibers which, damaged by the effort, must then regenerate. It is this repair of the muscles that causes the inflammatory reaction that is the body aches.
For a long time, it was believed that body aches were due to an accumulation of lactic acid produced by the muscles during exercise. But the hypothesis was quickly abandoned, the scientists having found that this product, key to the production of energy in the muscles, disappeared barely an hour after the effort provided. Long before the arrival of stiffness and pain! Good news, however, aches are a positive signal sent by the body, proof that we have worked and that we are progressing.
Let’s go back to when they happen. For example, when the body is surprised by unusual efforts: you resume tennis and even if you run regularly, your gluteal muscles do a different job and… presto, aches guaranteed the next day. You can also feel these cursed pains by working the same muscle, but more intensively. Again, the reaction of the body is not long in coming!
Certain types of muscular exercises are particularly known to cause body aches. And especially the repeated eccentric muscle contractions. What is it about ? Movements associated with the stretching of the muscle, those which make it possible to control and slow down the gesture. In other words, the muscle works by resisting a load rather than lifting it. Again, again, caution…
No miracle recipe, all the pros will tell you that it is almost impossible to prevent their appearance if you want to progress in sports practice. However, there are techniques to try to reduce the intensity. First of all, stay hydrated and warm up well. The more the muscles are gradually made to provide an effort, the more they will be resistant to aches. So, we start slowly and we stay as long as possible in our comfort zone. Then, we increase the workload, and we can force. In addition, at the end of his session, we do not skip stretching.
The following ? We cross fingers ! The most obvious solution to make them disappear is rest to allow good repair of the muscles used. Some also recommend a hot bath while others swear by the cold (high-level athletes slip into bins of ice cubes after their competition!).
Why not try alternating for better vasoconstriction and vasodilation, both of which significantly reduce pain and promote recovery? On the food side, coconut water (containing magnesium, potassium and sodium) would allow faster recovery, as would dark chocolate, rich in magnesium. But beware, no question of stuffing yourself!
We can also bet on patience… But if the pain persists beyond 72 hours, then it may be a sign of more serious muscle damage. And in this case, do not hesitate to consult your doctor.