I exercised for the first time in a long time yesterday. This is what I did:

500 jumping jacks at moderate pace 
100 jumping jacks at fast pace 
10 min of running in place at moderate pace 
100 jumping jacks at fast pace

Today I can barely walk, my leg muscles are aching a lot. After being seated for a while if I get up to walk it is very hard. But I noticed after a while once I'm warmed up a bit I can pull it off. So I think I will be able to do the same workout I did yesterday today.

The question is should I?

I reckon my leg muscles are hurting because I tore them up with my exercise and now in order to allow them to regrow and grow bigger I should rest. But my goal at the moment is to lose weight, not so much to grow muscle. Hence all my exercises are cardio.

For someone in my situation who is looking to lose weight and lose it fast, should I be doing this sort of cardio daily? or take breaks? If I should take entire days off how many a week?

height: 5'8
weight: 185lbs
age: 23
sex: male
body type: overweight
  • Related: fitness.stackexchange.com/questions/872/…
    – Flow
    Commented Apr 10, 2013 at 8:45
  • 1
    I'm impressed... But you are really stressing your muscles, tendons and joints way more than most would recommend. If you keep up this training regime, you will either become very fit or very injured - and given you say you are overweight, I would fear the later. Commented Sep 13, 2020 at 16:59

4 Answers 4


What you are experiencing is possibly Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). While this is not generally a reason to avoid workouts, if it's so intense that your range of motion or flexibility is compromised, you should rest. However, as you noticed, DOMS usually goes away after a bit of warm-up. If you can warm-up, and recover your full range of motion, go ahead and exercise. DOMS is usually only really bad the first time you work a particular muscle group after a long break from training. So, even if you need to take a few extra days rest after your first workout, you shouldn't need to next time.

  • 6
    I would add that the type of exercise the OP is doing isn't something where you need the rest to rebuild stronger muscles such as weightlifting. It's conditioning work which is something that you can do very often. If knees start to get a different kind of pain, the OP might look into varying the type of exercises he is doing. Commented Jul 26, 2012 at 15:31

Definitely take some time to rest, minimum one straight day between workouts, maybe more. Exercising with slightly sore muscles is fine, but your muscles should not be so sore that you can't move normally.


Increasing training frequency is the best method of lowering or erasing muscle soreness, not training when sore will only make the problem worse.

  • This is a wrong and dangerous answer. Even more so for untrained and overweight people. Not training while sore gives your body time to recover in muscles, joints, tendons, and ligaments. Just wait until you aren't sore anymore and then train again. Do this consistently and, as a beginner, your body will pretty much adapt to the training.
    – ComFreek
    Commented Sep 13, 2020 at 8:34

It's important to consider all of muscles, joints, tendons, and ligaments for recovery. In particular for untrained and overweight individuals. While it might be fine to train with light soreness muscle-wise, it might not be with respect to your joints, tendons, and ligaments, which in general require more time to recover than muscles.

Hence, if your muscles are sore, it's also good time to listen to your body and see if anything else of the structures mentioned above is sore, too. You definitely do not want to risk injuring anything but muscles: an injured muscle (a sprained one) can heal pretty fast (roughly) within days or 1-2 weeks, whereas, say, an injured tendon can keep you busy with rehabilitating multiple weeks or even months.

Concretely for your workout program, I could imagine your knees and ankles (and surrounding tendons) feeling icky or sore. If so, rest the respective structures more, and while doing so, work on something else, for example:

  • work on (light) mobility to gain mobility and control movements

    e.g., even if your achilles tendon doesn't feel well, you can still move around your knees and hips in a standing position or perform the 90°-90° movement for your hips in a sitting position (tip: use your hands for the latter)

  • have some light walks

  • take care of proper nutrition

All these exemplary points still contribute to your goal of being more sportive/losing weight while being wary of not overloading your sore structures.

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