The Science Behind Your Workout That Leaves You Hurting

There is just something special about a good workout and the inevitable muscle pain you get after, let's not forget the fact it could last two days oddly makes you feel beyond happy. Everyone feels pain. There’s pain you hate, but then there’s pain you love. What’s the difference?

The pain you hate is like when you hit your baby toe on the coffee table, or when you knock your funny bone; there really isn’t anything funny about it. And then there’s the pain you get after a killer workout; you know the pain that “hurts so good.”

But, what is it that keeps you coming back for more of that exercise pain? How is it even logical for us to enjoy pain?

Simple, it’s somewhat psychological. We’ve learned to associate the aftermath of pain from a good workout to effort. So, you know you’re working hard on yourself and making progress every time you feel the burn two days later. And somehow, you’ve convinced yourself that this burn feels intensely good, so you appreciate it till the next time you burn that bad.

It’s also somewhat related to the hormones and chemicals your body releases while you’re exercising. While you’re working out your body releases a chemical which acts as a neurotransmitter to help your brain see rewards. So, the burn you feel during and after your workout session is your reward for putting in your maximum effort.

We can appreciate the joys of the burn, but please learn to distinguish the pain that you're supposed to feel and the pain that means something is terribly wrong. If you're getting a constant stabbing pain in your knees after leg day, you might want to get to a doctor to check it out, but feeling tight hamstrings is completely natural.

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This article should not be considered as medical advice. Do not delay or disregard seeking professional advice from a certified doctor or other qualified healthcare provider. Always speak with a doctor before starting, stopping, or changing any prescribed care or treatment plan. provides this reading material as a helpful resource, but it should never be a substitute for professional medical advice, care, diagnosis or treatment from a medical physician, a certified personal trainer, a therapist, a dietitian, or a nutritionist. If in a medical emergency, call a doctor or dial 911 immediately.