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Experiencing pain after any exercise, especially the rigorous physical training involved in boxing, is normal. Muscle soreness is usually a sign of intense training. Muscle soreness can also be a sign of more serious injury, however, if it persists for several days, BoxingScene.com notes. Boxers should understand what causes muscle soreness so they know how to treat it and can take steps to minimize their risk for sore muscles after boxing.
Causes and Symptoms
Muscle pain after exercise is often caused by strain from overuse, MayoClinic.com notes. The pain is usually localized, affecting the muscle groups used during exercise. The muscle soreness you experience after any exercise is known as delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS. Pain generally starts 12 to 24 hours after exercising and usually peaks approximately 72 hours afterward, explains the American College of Sports Medicine. The usual symptoms of DOMS are swelling of the affected muscles, stiffness and tenderness of the affected area. The symptoms don't usually require medical attention unless the pain becomes debilitating or persists for several days after your workout.
The treatment for muscle soreness depends on the extent and severity of the pain. Treatments range from the application of ice to the affected area to massage, stretching and taking pain relievers, notes the American Council on Exercise. Acupuncture is also a possible treatment for muscle soreness, the American College of Sports Medicine notes. Note that all of these treatment techniques are aimed at alleviating pain rather than healing damaged muscle tissue. Consult a healthcare professional before initiating a treatment regimen.
Preventing muscle soreness completely may be impossible, but stretching, icing and eating a healthy diet are good ways to minimize its intensity. Stretching before and after boxing helps warm up and cool down muscles. Stretching also helps muscle fibers recover more quickly after a workout. Icing muscles in which you anticipate soreness after a workout helps reduce the chance of inflammation and swelling later. Eating a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids is another way reduce potential muscle soreness, according to an article in the "International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism." These fatty acids are present in salmon, avocado and walnuts. Omega-3 fatty acids decrease your body's production of chemicals that cause inflammation, and less inflammation means less muscle soreness.
Signs of Overtraining
Intense or persistent muscle soreness may be a sign that you're over-exercising during your boxing workouts. Other signs of overtraining are decreased performance, insomnia, reduced appetite and impaired immune response. Increased resting heart rate and moodiness are also signs of overdoing it. If muscle soreness is accompanied by any of these symptoms, consider lowering the intensity or duration of your workouts to give your body time to recover before gradually returning to your previous level of training and exercise.