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Why There’s No Gain Without Pain

Credit: alphaspirit/Adobe

Credit: alphaspirit/Adobe

By Bradley Launikonis

Most people know all too well the feeling of muscle soreness after unaccustomed exercise, but now the cell physiology of the recovery process has been explained.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Our muscles are highly specialised organs that occupy a significant volume of our body mass. They are responsible for our ability to move, to maintain posture, and they allow us to manipulate our environment.

We use our muscles to perform brief, powerful, heavy-lifting tasks, or endurance tasks like long-distance running. These strenuous activities have potentially damaging consequences. Muscles can, for instance, be impaired for extended periods, if not permanently, especially if a heavy load of exercise is unaccustomed to the individual at the time.

In an evolutionary sense, any properties of the skeletal muscle that restricted the ability of our ancestors to escape danger, take opportunities to feed or reproduce must have experienced negative selective pressure. This constant selective pressure to optimise the function of skeletal muscle has caused it to become a highly specialised and versatile organ. For example, our muscles have the ability to fully recover from heavy loads of unaccustomed exercise without a complete loss of the function during the most stressed time when the muscle is vulnerable in the few days following the exercise. This sore and vulnerable period for the muscle is typically known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).

DOMS is common to most people in the 2–3 days following unaccustomed exercise. In this period of time the...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.