Barre vs Yoga vs Pilates: Which Is Right for You?

I went running for the first time in a while, and my inner thighs were pretty sore the next day. Is it okay to work them—or any sore muscle, for that matter—at my Pilates session the next day?

A The soreness you’re experiencing is referred to as Delayed Onset Muscle soreness (DOMs). It’s quite common after either partaking in a new activity or one you haven’t partaken in for some time, or after upping the intensity of your exercise routine. The soreness we experience is a result of microscopic tearing of the muscle— it’s the natural process of the muscle adapting to a new environment. It’s actually an essential phase in the muscle becoming better equipped to deal with the demands in the future.

Unless you’re experiencing severe pain (in which case, the load you placed on your muscles was far in excess of what it should’ve been), I highly recommend working the muscles at a lower intensity the next day. In fact, a Pilates session is probably the very best form of activity for you. Pilates is not a high-intensity exercise regimen. Although it can certainly be extremely demanding, it typically involves large ranges of motion, stretching and low-load exercises. In addition, Pilates is a mind/body system, and as such, we work in a way that is void of tension and emphasizes flowing movement. Certainly the DOMS you’re experiencing should be considered when tailoring your Pilates session, but I’m confident in saying that this mode of work will help in overcoming the soreness you’re experiencing.

Personally, I always try and fit in a good, solid Pilates session when I’m experiencing DOMS. I have done so for almost four decades, and it has served me well, even when the DOMS is a result of Pilates itself, like after one of my recent two-hour Marathon Mat® classes in Italy. As I rolled out of bed the next day, I winced and thought, I feel like I’ve been hit by a freight train. Nothing more was needed than a good, slow, light Pilates session to get me right back on track. Don’t forgo your session— you’ll be thankful for it.

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