There is a big difference between body aches vs muscle soreness. Body aches can happen for a variety of reasons. And muscle soreness usually happens after a strenuous workout.
In this article we are going to cover the differences between muscle soreness and body aches and what you can do to prevent and identify them.
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Body aches vs muscle soreness
We must first get into the differences between the two before we go any further. Well, the main difference is that if you are feeling any sort of body pain or discomfort and you haven’t worked out recently, it is most likely body aches.
Body aches can come from illness, fatigue, lack of sleep, vitamin D deficiency, stress, or dehydration. Of course, this is not an exhaustive list, but these are the main causes of body aches.
The only time I get body aches is when I have a cold or a flu. So if you don’t have any symptoms of illness, assess the other potential culprits.
Body aches are going to be less acute than muscle aches. Meaning that they most likely will be all over your body rather than in one specific spot.
Muscle soreness on the other hand is going to be in the location where you worked out. Also it is sometimes easy to forget that doing any sort of physical labor might cause muscle soreness if it is not something that you do everyday.
For example, I dug a hole the other day for a plant. And the next day, my muscles were sore. That is because I rarely use those muscles and I don’t dig very often.
Another important thing to consider is that your peripheral muscles are most likely going to get hit in the process of a traditional workout. It isn’t just your main muscle groups that you are targeting.
For example, if you do a chest workout at the gym, you might think that just your chest is being worked out. When in fact your arms, core, and shoulders might get some action too.
Don’t be surprised if your shoulders or neck are sore. Any time you go to the gym, you can have all sorts of soreness the next day. The key is to be consistent in the gym and make sure that you don’t go too far with it.
How to prevent body aches and muscle soreness
Surprisingly, the key to conquering both muscle soreness and body aches are fairly simple. There are 2 outliers though. When we are talking about body aches vs muscle soreness, we can only do so much to prevent both of them.
For example, if you catch the flu, there is nothing that you can do to prevent body aches other than staying hydrated and taking pain meds.
On the other side, there is nothing that you can do to prevent muscle soreness after a workout unless you become consistent at working out.
But, you can work to make them less painful and annoying by taking some steps. The first step is to make sure that you are hydrated sufficiently. A doctor once told me that if your urine isn’t clear or just barely yellow, then you aren’t hydrated enough.
If you have trouble drinking a lot of water, learn how to trick yourself into drinking more water.
Another step that you can take is to sleep at least 7 hours per night. Here is the thing. Our culture promotes this idea that it is “cool” to get just a few hours of sleep per night. First of all, it is not cool, and second of all it is damaging to your body.
Do everything that you can to get enough sleep each night. If it was up to me, I would sleep 9-10 hours per night. But I usually end up getting around 8.
The last thing I will mention is vitamin D. It might seem odd to be so specific about your vitamin D intake, but this is the vitamin that you get from the sun. And if you live in a place where the sun isn’t out for large portions of time, you need to take supplements.
Building better habits
The older I get, the more that I realize it’s the small things that add up. Things like making sure I drink at least a gallon of water per day. Things like working out 4 days per week. And of course, taking vitamins everyday.
Being in my 30’s now, I feel that I am significantly healthier and have more energy than I did in my 20’s. That is because I now consciously make the effort to have better habits.
There are 4 steps to making anything a habit:
- Make it obvious
- Make it attractive
- Make it easy
- Make it satisfying
If you want a deeper breakdown of each of these categories, read my article, how to make exercise a habit.
Putting the steps into action
As you go down this list of steps, you may be wondering how to make things like drinking enough water easy or attractive. Well, that is entirely up to you to decide because beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
I will tell you how I built the better habit of drinking enough water everyday and how it relates to each step.
To start, I bought an RTIC Gallon Jug from Amazon. Every morning I fill it up and set it on my desk (make it obvious). There is nothing really inherently attractive about a gallon of water, so you need to get creative.
For example, I know that water is great for my skin. And I also know that water helps build muscle. So there! I know that water will make me more attractive over time. It is all about how you frame your mind around this action.
So now we know how obvious and attractive it is to drink water. Now how do we make it easy? In the case of the gallon jug that I have, it has a simple spout that allows me to drink quickly and frequently. Simple.
The last step is to make it satisfying. I think drinking water is inherently satisfying, because you quench your thirst and it’s nice and cool. But it is up to you to do things to make it more satisfying.
I have heard of people putting a marble in a clear glass on their desk each time they take a sip of water. Throughout the day, it becomes satisfying to see the glass fill up.
All in all, it is up to you to decide how you are going to deal with body aches vs muscle soreness. There are plenty of preventative measures that you can take. Just be sure to be consistent.
Main Point: Body aches vs muscle soreness
Dealing with body aches and muscle soreness is no fun. In this article, you learned about the differences between body aches vs muscle soreness. You should now have a better understanding of what causes them and how you can prevent them in the future.
Remember that body aches are usually more of a full body dull pain. While muscle soreness is something that is usually more targeted towards muscles that were recently worked out.
There are plenty of steps that you can take in order to prevent both in the future. But just remember that it is not always possible to prevent it all.
For example, if you catch the flu, there is a good chance that you are not going to be able to avoid body aches. Also, if you workout for the first time in a long time, your muscles are most likely going to feel the pain.
The key to keeping body aches and muscle pain at bay is to be consistent with good habits. Working out regularly, staying hydrated, getting enough sleep, and taking vitamins are a great start.
Good habits are the key to unlocking your body’s potential, so be aware of what it is going to take. Use our step by step process to help you form any new habit.