Soreness is a natural part of working out, but sometimes the line between soreness and pain can get blurry.  Here is your guide to deciphering between whether you should push through the pain, or give your poor body a rest.

You are sore for up to 3 days after a workout.

This means you worked your muscles hard enough to initiate changes. This a good thing.

To ease the pain, drink plenty of water and stretch to initiate the healing of your muscle fibers.  Rest at least one day before working the same muscles again to reap the benefits of your workout, and prevent injury.

You are sore for longer than three days.  The pain prevents you from moving the effected joint, or keeps you up at night.

This means you pushed it too far. You either used too much weight, worked out too long or didn’t rest enough between workouts.

To ease the pain, take a break from the workouts, take an ibuprofen, and see your doctor to check from injuries.

You are having muscle cramps during or right after your workout.

This means you are either dehydrated, didn’t warm up properly, lifted too much weight or a combination of the three.

To ease the pain, massage the afflicted areas, chug water and if the pain persists for more than 3 days, see your doctor.

Working out is going to cause discomfort, but it shouldn’t hurt.  If you are still unsure of your are normal sore, or injured, check with your doctor to make sure.