Exercise Expectations

What happens when I exercise?

Exercise can affect your body in a lot of ways. It can help you improve your strength and stamina, energy level and overall health. You could also experience some other effects like muscle soreness, tightness, and fatigue.

How can I tell if I am exercising properly?

There are both normal and abnormal feelings when you exercise. Abnormal feelings may occur, and you need to stop any exercise causing the abnormal feeling and let the ACE staff know. We will work with you to find the right exercises and exercise level appropriate for you.

Normal feelings

  • Gentle burn/ache during exercise

  • Body shakes slightly during resistance training

  • Feeling warm with heavy breathing during exercise

  • Dull soreness after exercise

  • Muscles feel heavy after exercise

  • Body feels tight after exercise

Abnormal feelings

  • Extreme fatigue during or after exercise

  • Sharp stabbing pain in muscles, joint or area of the body

  • Swelling, heat and redness around a joint or muscle after exercise

  • Dizziness and/or chest pain

  • Feeling like you can't catch your breath

What can I do to manage the normal side effects of exercise?

We can't always avoid the muscle soreness or fatigue after exercise, however there are several things you can do to help. The best way to avoid soreness and fatigue is to prevent them in the first place. Here are a few ideas to help you manage the side effects of exercise.

Go for an easy walk

Progress the exercise and intensity at a safe pace

Avoid sitting or lying down for long periods of time

Good warm-up before exercising

Move jointS without any resistance

Stretch after exercising

Ice the sore area

Massage and foam rolling

What should I do if I feel that I have worked too hard?

It will likely happen at some point in your time exercising that you have a day that you have worked too hard. When this happens there are a few things that can help.

  • Let one of the ACE trainers know. Explain them how you feel and that you think you are doing too much so they can adjust your program to fit your needs better.

  • Rest the area that is hurting or tight. Remember that active rest such as light walk or easy movements/stretching will be better than complete rest.

How long will my soreness last?

Soreness following exercise will generally last anywhere from 1 to 3 days after exercise session. This soreness does not mean that you are injured or need medical aid. You can manage your soreness by trying some of the tips mentioned earlier. If you find that the soreness is lasting longer than 3 days, talk to your ACE trainer. With that information, they can modify

your exercise program to your needs and level of fitness. 

Soreness following a workout will be the most noticeable in the first few weeks of starting a new exercise program. Over the next few weeks, your body will begin to get used to the feeling and you will generally find it less noticeable.

© 2017 by the University of Alberta and the University of Calgary