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Is it OK to Stretch Sore Muscles?

    If you’ve just started working out or added a challenging new move to your workout routine, you may experience sore muscles. Don’t worry! This soreness won’t last long. However, you may wonder, is it ok to stretch sore muscles?

    Gentle stretching can ease your sore muscles and facilitate their recovery. It relieves your muscle pain by increasing blood circulation. However, be careful not to overstretch since it may injure your already sore muscles. 

    Is it OK to Stretch Sore Muscles

    Stretching can help you accelerate your recovery when used the right way. You can do different things to support your muscles and make them recover faster.

    This article will explain why your muscles become sore, how long it will take for muscles to recover, and how stretching accelerates recovery. 

    See the table below if you are in a hurry to see the products to help you heal your sore muscles.

     

    Is It Better to Stretch Sore Muscles or Let Them Rest? 🤔

    Is It Better to Stretch Sore Muscles or Let Them Rest

    Stretching is a good warm-up and cool-down technique.

    It increases your flexibility, range of motion, and blood circulation, which helps the healing process.

    Keeping your muscles in motion helps them relax and dramatically alleviates the pain and soreness. 

    You should do light physical activity to break the cycle of muscle soreness. Light jogging, walking, and swimming can relieve the pain.

    However, you need to warm up before these activities and cool down afterward. 

    Nevertheless, too much stretching isn’t recommended when you’re in pain. It can injure your muscles and worsen the soreness. 

     

    How Does Stretching Reduce Muscle Soreness?🤸‍♂️

    How Does Stretching Reduce Muscle Soreness

    Stretching improves blood flow by increasing your heart rate and dilating the vessels to carry more blood. 

    Blood has oxygen, and when the blood flow increases, the oxygen delivery to the muscles also increases.

    Increased blood flow also means your muscles receive more nutrients, and they can expel more metabolic waste products, including lactic acid.

    These effects help muscles recover faster and get rid of the pain. 

    Stretching activates those parts in your nervous system responsible for the feeling of relaxation and calmness. 

    It also releases endorphin, a hormone that makes you feel happy and relieves pain. 

    It would help if you had a good non-slip exercise mat to do stretches, so you don’t slip and further injure your already sore muscles.

    See our top three recommended yoga mats below.

    Preview
    Overall Best
    Manduka PRO Yoga Mat – Premium 6mm Thick Mat, High Performance Grip, Support and Stability in Yoga, Pilates, Gym, Fitness, Extra Long, 85 Inches, Black Color
    Best Alternative
    IUGA Pro Non Slip Yoga Mat, Unbeatable Non Slip Performance, Eco Friendly and SGS Certified Material for Hot Yoga, Odorless Lightweight and Extra Large Size, Free Carry Strap
    Best Budget
    UMINEUX Yoga Mat Extra Thick 1/3'' Non Slip Yoga Mats for Women with Alignment Marks Eco Friendly TPE Fitness Exercise Mat with Carrying Strap & Storage Bag
    Product Name
    Manduka PRO Yoga Mat
    IUGA Pro Non Slip Yoga Mat
    UMINEUX Yoga Mat Extra Thick
    Thickness
    6MM
    5MM
    8MM
    Material
    Polyvinyl Chloride
    Polyurethane, Rubber
    TPE
    Weight
    ‎0.78 Kilograms
    2.5 lbs
    2.4 Pounds
    Dimensions
    85 x 26 x 0.24 inches
    85 x 26 x 0.24 inches
    72 x 24 x 0.31 inches
    Eco Friendly
    Overall Best
    Preview
    Manduka PRO Yoga Mat – Premium 6mm Thick Mat, High Performance Grip, Support and Stability in Yoga, Pilates, Gym, Fitness, Extra Long, 85 Inches, Black Color
    Product Name
    Manduka PRO Yoga Mat
    Thickness
    6MM
    Material
    Polyvinyl Chloride
    Weight
    ‎0.78 Kilograms
    Dimensions
    85 x 26 x 0.24 inches
    Eco Friendly
    Interested?
    Best Alternative
    Preview
    IUGA Pro Non Slip Yoga Mat, Unbeatable Non Slip Performance, Eco Friendly and SGS Certified Material for Hot Yoga, Odorless Lightweight and Extra Large Size, Free Carry Strap
    Product Name
    IUGA Pro Non Slip Yoga Mat
    Thickness
    5MM
    Material
    Polyurethane, Rubber
    Weight
    2.5 lbs
    Dimensions
    85 x 26 x 0.24 inches
    Eco Friendly
    Interested?
    Best Budget
    Preview
    UMINEUX Yoga Mat Extra Thick 1/3'' Non Slip Yoga Mats for Women with Alignment Marks Eco Friendly TPE Fitness Exercise Mat with Carrying Strap & Storage Bag
    Product Name
    UMINEUX Yoga Mat Extra Thick
    Thickness
    8MM
    Material
    TPE
    Weight
    2.4 Pounds
    Dimensions
    72 x 24 x 0.31 inches
    Eco Friendly
    Interested?

     

    How Long Do Sore Muscles Need to Recover? 🧐

    How-Long-Do-Sore-Muscles-Need-to-Recover

    Muscles need time to recover; otherwise, they won’t get a chance to rebuild, and they may be at a higher risk of injury. 

    The optimal recovery time for muscles is 48 to 72 hours, depending on your diet, physical activity, and body composition. If you do intense physical activities, your muscles will take longer to recover than those with light physical activity. 

    Also, if you have higher muscle mass, you’ll experience longer and more muscle soreness than someone with less muscle mass.

    Eating healthy and getting enough nutrients are necessary for your body to rebuild muscles.

    Eat adequate calories and consume the right amounts of carbs, fats, and proteins to shorten the recovery period. 

    Check out this post-workout flavored water to help your recovery by replenishing lost electrolytes.

    Preview
    Overall Best
    Lemon Perfect - Organic Cold-Pressed Lemon Water - Squeezed from Real Fruit, Flavored Water, Sugar-Free, Keto Certified, No Artificial Ingredients - 6-Flavor Variety Pack (12-pack)
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    Hint Water Fruit Stand Variety Pack (Pack of 12), 16 Ounce Bottles, 3 Bottles Each of: Peach, Raspberry, Watermelon, and Lemon, Zero Calories, Zero Sugar and Zero Sweeteners
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    Sparkling Ice Purple Variety Pack, Flavored Sparkling Water, Zero Sugar, with Vitamins and Antioxidants, 17 fl oz, 12 count (Black Raspberry, Cherry Limeade, Orange Mango, Kiwi Strawberry)
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    Lemon Perfect Organic Lemon Water
    Hint Water Fruit Stand Variety Pack
    Sparkling Ice Purple Variety Pack
    Sugar
    None
    None
    None
    Flavors
    Six
    Four
    Four
    Calories
    Five
    Zero
    Five
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    Preview
    Lemon Perfect - Organic Cold-Pressed Lemon Water - Squeezed from Real Fruit, Flavored Water, Sugar-Free, Keto Certified, No Artificial Ingredients - 6-Flavor Variety Pack (12-pack)
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    Lemon Perfect Organic Lemon Water
    Sugar
    None
    Flavors
    Six
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    Five
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    Preview
    Hint Water Fruit Stand Variety Pack (Pack of 12), 16 Ounce Bottles, 3 Bottles Each of: Peach, Raspberry, Watermelon, and Lemon, Zero Calories, Zero Sugar and Zero Sweeteners
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    Hint Water Fruit Stand Variety Pack
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    None
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    Four
    Calories
    Zero
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    Preview
    Sparkling Ice Purple Variety Pack, Flavored Sparkling Water, Zero Sugar, with Vitamins and Antioxidants, 17 fl oz, 12 count (Black Raspberry, Cherry Limeade, Orange Mango, Kiwi Strawberry)
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    Sparkling Ice Purple Variety Pack
    Sugar
    None
    Flavors
    Four
    Calories
    Five
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    Remember to get adequate rest, too. Your routine should give you suitable rest days necessary for muscle recovery.

    Doing leg workouts two days in a row isn’t recommended. Instead, do your legs and work on your upper body the next day.  

    You need to get active rest when your muscles are in pain, meaning to gradually return the function of your muscles to the normal level.

    Active rest may include light exercises, such as walking, biking, and stretching. 

    Taking hot and cold baths and massaging is also effective in shortening the recovery period as they accelerate muscular rebuilding by increasing the blood flow to your muscles. 

    Massage roller sticks can help with muscle soreness. See the table below for our top three recommended sticks.

     

    Preview
    Best Overall
    TheStick Travel Stick, 17"L, Standard Flexibility, Red Handles, Therapeutic Body Massage Stick, Potentially Improves Flexibility, Aids in Muscle Recovery & Muscle Pain, Assists in Myofascial Release
    Best Alternative
    Gaiam Restore 05-58255 Pressure Point Muscle Roller Massage Stick (Colors may vary)
    Best Price
    Idson Muscle Roller Stick for Athletes- Body Massage Sticks Tools-Muscle Roller Massager for Relief Muscle Soreness,Cramping and Tightness,Help Legs and Back Recovery,Black Green
    Product Name
    TheStick Travel Stick
    Gaiam Restore 05-58255 Pressure Point Muscle Roller Massage Stick
    Idson Muscle Roller Stick for Athletes
    Dimension
    17 x 1 x 1 inches
    17.99 x 2.48 x 2.48 inches
    18 x 2.2 x 1.8 inches
    Material
    Plastic
    Rubber
    Abs,Rubber
    Color Options
    Nine
    One
    One
    Weight
    0.55 Pounds
    8 Ounces
    0.65 Pounds
    Best Overall
    Preview
    TheStick Travel Stick, 17"L, Standard Flexibility, Red Handles, Therapeutic Body Massage Stick, Potentially Improves Flexibility, Aids in Muscle Recovery & Muscle Pain, Assists in Myofascial Release
    Product Name
    TheStick Travel Stick
    Dimension
    17 x 1 x 1 inches
    Material
    Plastic
    Color Options
    Nine
    Weight
    0.55 Pounds
    Interested?
    Best Alternative
    Preview
    Gaiam Restore 05-58255 Pressure Point Muscle Roller Massage Stick (Colors may vary)
    Product Name
    Gaiam Restore 05-58255 Pressure Point Muscle Roller Massage Stick
    Dimension
    17.99 x 2.48 x 2.48 inches
    Material
    Rubber
    Color Options
    One
    Weight
    8 Ounces
    Interested?
    Best Price
    Preview
    Idson Muscle Roller Stick for Athletes- Body Massage Sticks Tools-Muscle Roller Massager for Relief Muscle Soreness,Cramping and Tightness,Help Legs and Back Recovery,Black Green
    Product Name
    Idson Muscle Roller Stick for Athletes
    Dimension
    18 x 2.2 x 1.8 inches
    Material
    Abs,Rubber
    Color Options
    One
    Weight
    0.65 Pounds
    Interested?

     

    Muscle soreness lasting more than three days can be a sign of significant damage to your muscles, and it may hinder you from getting to your workout goals. See a doctor if you’re experiencing this type of pain as it needs prompt medical intervention. 

     

    Why Do Muscles Become Sore? 🤓

    Why Do Muscles Become Sore

    There are two types of muscle soreness you may experience after workouts: Acute Muscle Soreness (AMS) and Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS).

    The reason for muscle soreness varies depending on the type. 

     

    Acute Muscle Soreness (AMS)

    You experience AMS during or shortly after a workout (no longer than 1 hour).

    It disappears as soon as or shortly after you stop the activity (for up to an hour). 

    You experience AMS because of the quick buildup of metabolites during a workout session.

    It can happen when you start to exercise after a long period of no or little exercise, include new moves in your routine, or modify your current routine. 

     

    Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)

    Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness

    DOMS starts 12 to 24 hours after the workout, but the pain reaches the highest level one to three days later and subsides.

    Micro-tears in the muscle fibers cause DOMS after high-intensity exercises. 

    Then the body responds to this damage by inflammation. The inflammation is the reason for the pain.

    It’s common in exercises such as downhill running, where there’s lots of resistance to the stretch. 

     

    Can I Workout With Sore Muscles? 😕

     Can I workout with sore muscle

    Micro-tears in your muscles aren’t dangerous. They’re necessary for muscle growth and strength.

    You have to give your muscles time to recover and work on them again.

    However, giving time for your muscle recovery doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t exercise. 

    Although it isn’t comfortable to work out with sore muscles, you shouldn’t stay still. Light exercises, such as walking and stretching, are good for sore muscles.

    stretching for sore muscle

    However, you shouldn’t continuously work on the same muscle groups or activate painful muscles; otherwise, they may become injured. 

    Many workout routines give your muscles enough time to recover.

    Doing one session of the upper body and the next session of the lower body is an example of such routines. 

    If your muscles are in pain for longer than three days, visit a doctor, especially if you can’t perform your daily activities or have difficulty returning to your workout sessions. 

     

    Frequently Asked Questions ❓

    Frequently Asked Questions

     

    How Do You Relieve Sore Muscles Fast?

    You can relieve muscle soreness and shorten the recovery period by getting more sleep and relaxing your body. 

    Get more protein and drink more water. Stop drinking alcohol since it dehydrates your body and prevents protein absorption. 
    Massaging and stretching also relax your sore muscles.

    Placing ice on the sore area is another option.
    Finally, you can try painkillers to relieve your sore muscles. 

    Are Sore Muscles After Workout Good?

    Are Sore Muscles After Workout Good

    Muscle soreness is a normal part of getting a healthy and fit body.

    Your muscles get micro-tears during a workout, which causes soreness in some people. But this also allows the muscles to grow and becomes stronger. 

    If the pain remains high for more than three days and it’s so intense that you can’t do your daily activities, it may be a sign of muscular damage. 

    In this case, visit a doctor. 

    Do Sore Muscles Burn Fat?

    Sore muscles don’t directly burn fat.

    They’re a sign of you doing the workout and burning calories. 

    All your muscles (with or without soreness) use calories for energy, and fat burning isn’t necessarily the result of sore muscles. 

    Final Thoughts 🤗

    Time and Health

    Is it ok to stretch sore muscles? Yes, stretching helps your sore muscles.

    It increases blood flow and oxygen delivery and promotes recovery.

    Muscles become sore due to the buildup of metabolites or getting micro-tears.

    This happens when you start to exercise after a long sedentary period, do a new exercise, or change your current workout routine.

    The recovery period is 48 to 72 hours, depending on the diet, physical activity, and body composition.

    If soreness remains for more than three days, you need to visit a doctor. 

    Last update on 2022-10-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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    James Wright

    James (36) has been working out since he was 15 years old. He has a home gym where he pumps iron, does bodyweight workouts and boxing. He likes sharing his experiences with others who want to build a better physique.

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