Should I be sore?
Dancing professionally for a little over 20 years I have a lot to say about being sore. I can tell you that it was a real drag day in and day out. But I can also tell you that it brought a new awareness to a part of myself that I might not have experienced, an unknown place within. This latter part is what I think everyone is after. Affirmation that we're here on earth, that we exist, our effort was not for nothing, that we might build the strength to conquer our struggle. And afterwards we usually feel and look better, our energy renewed. So if you're not sore, does that mean you didn't work hard? Not at all. With each passing decade your soreness will change because you've become smarter in your body, more articulate with how you move. Your neuromuscular connections have refined, just like when you write a letter with pen and paper.
You can become sore up to 72 hours after and not in the way you might expect. Soreness is a break down in the muscles fibers, where a strain is the same just on a larger scale. The muscle recruits inflammation to the torn fibers to stop the action and this stimulates pain receptors in the muscle; sending a message through your nervous system to your brain saying 'time to recover and build more fibers there'. This is the sensation you feel and sometimes seek out. To feel your body is to be embodied and that is a very real feeling. So what happens when you're not sore in the days after? There is the beauty in the mystery because you did work. The neuromuscular connections are where real strength begins and that is the foundation you are laying down. You may not be sore but some things may be easier like that shoulder click you usually hear when you pick up the paper disappears, your clothes begin to fit differently or your hip doesn't hurt anymore. Sometimes building muscle is happening at the intrinsic level where sensation isn't as great but that's where you're building new fibers. Listening to our bodies requires a volume dial to our nervous system. Spending 5 minutes in the morning to sit and feel your body from the inside out will yield a greater sense of your exercise program and build new muscular connections, creating a positive change in the firing pattern. If you want to know more specifically how your workout affected you, take a moment and tune in, you might be surprised what you discover in the vast interior of yourself.