Want Satisfaction? Get Sore
Soreness brings satisfaction, but like everything, too much isn’t great.
With the snow clearing and the sand softening and the temperature tolerable, I pulled my bike out of the garage for the first time in months and rode into town.
The total trip was 13.8 km (17.2 miles) to my destination and back. And up to this point, I haven’t been the most active individual.
Needless to say, I was winded and stiff by the end, and today I’m sore.
But through this entire experience, there is a level of satisfaction from it.
Like a voice telling me to do it again. But maybe not as intense.
I’ll admit that I kind of cheated on that distance as there were a few periods where I walked instead of biked. But that voice and that desire is still there.
But for now I’m looking at myself and instead of doing crunches and trying to get sore again I’m asking myself why?
Why this fascination?
And is there something else that I may be missing here?
To answer the first question, our fascination for soreness stems from something within ourselves. We may equate our soreness to a sense of accomplishment, that we did something good and that this soreness is proof we are getting stronger.
The reality is actually stemming from our feel-good drug dopamine.
For those of us who love to say “it hurt so good,” Michael Mackin of mmfitness.ie explains that we say that more due to the dopamine production flowing through our bodies whenever we exercise.
This feel-good drug is a powerful tool but is dangerously addictive which brings me to the second question.
While it does feel amazing to get out bed the next day sore and satisfied, it doesn’t necessarily equate to a good workout as many others claim.
While moving around and exercising certainly brings a boost in our confidence of our bodies, there is a catch to all of this soreness. And a lot of it tends to come to what you choose to do after an exercise session and what you plan to do over the next day.
The soreness we experience is also known as delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMS. Many people stand by DOMS as proof like a badge of honour, this badge of honour lasting for the next 24–48 hours after a workout. But the problems with this lay in situations where people tell you to push farther.
The “no pain, no gain” mentality.
Or a “push to your limits” mentality.
And it’s in these situations where we need to show ourselves some restraint. To understand that while we need to be moving around, we need to understand our own limits.
Soreness brings great satisfaction because a workout is more of an understanding of our current limitations. How far can we go? When should we hold ourselves back? How does our body feel when we do this?
It’s why exercise and working out should be a core part of our every day lives.
But like everything, there needs to be limitations to it and we need to be looking and listening to ourselves. To use ourselves as a guiding post for when we start to lose satisfaction and end up hurting ourselves to actually stop from doing more of that.
Each of our bodies has their own limitations and it’s also important to keep in mind that there are two types of soreness. There is immediate soreness which is a sign your muscles are tired and then there is the DOMS which means you tore the muscles and they’re rebuilding themselves stronger than before.
But to get to that state of DOMS, one needs to be exercising at their own level where it’s actually a challenge. Through that experience, we do find satisfaction despite the fact that DOMS is associated with something negative as well.
The key thing is what we choose to do afterwards. The aftercare of experiencing a soreness where we feel satisfied.
And to do that is a matter of listening to your body. To understand how far should we go for next time, but also to rest up, drink plenty of water, and to look after ourselves.
After all, DOMS is a benefit but too much can bring serious damage to ourselves.
So if you need immediate satisfaction, don’t be afraid to get up and move around and break a sweat. The soreness afterwards can bring much satisfaction. But be wary and understand your limits.