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Ever heard the saying "no pain, no gain"? To a certain extent I believe this is true.

When you start a new exercise program after a long lay-off or change your exercise routine, increase your workload or intensity, it is expected without doubt you will feel muscle soreness and stiffness and it can last for up to 10 days.

This is called DOMS - delayed onset of muscle soreness - and it generally occurs one to two days after exercise. Do not be discouraged or put off from exercising or changing your unhealthy lifestyle choices because of DOMS.

The more frequently you train, the fitter you will become, giving you greater stamina, strength and endurance, leaving you looking and feeling great.

I have heard all the excuses. It has become all too common for people keen to begin an exercise program or take up personal training, to give away their new-found lifestyle before the soreness even stops.

Two words: toughen up.

Don't look at this as a negative. Be proactive and positive, remember how bad you felt when you started training, push through and think to yourself "I am not going to let myself go again", and keep at it.

After a few weeks it takes a higher amount of intensive training to bring on that initial soreness but by then you will be feeling fitter, will have increased energy and will be more positive about yourself.

Of course, remember to start slowly and gradually work into your routines at your own pace. If the only leg workout you are doing is squatting up and down on a chair at your local coffee shop, you can expect to experience some discomfort when you start a new exercise regime.

Be realistic, knowing you are starting from scratch, and while you are improving your physical condition my five top tips for easing the pain are:

  • Keep training regularly
  • Gentle stretching
  • Massage
  • Hot and cold baths
  • Get plenty of sleep (this enables the muscles to heal).

Until next time, no excuses - get moving.