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Muscle soreness? Should you cycle or run to recover?

No-one likes the limiting effects of muscles soreness after exercise, and we all want to speed up the process so we can get back to what we love. When we suffer a bout of exercise-induced muscle soreness, we don't feel like doing anything, because it hurts! However, through laboratory testing, an active recovery is best in speeding up the process. Running and cycling are widely used by athletes in regenerative training sessions, but which is most effective?

Franke et al. (2021) looked into the effects of moderate intensity cycling and running in the recovery of eccentric exercise-induced muscle damage. Both running and cycling proved more effective than passive recovery in decreasing lactate levels. Cycling did offer faster recovery to those undergoing strength training when compared to running, as well as reducing levels of pain.

Overall, if you're feeling sore after your last training session, then running or cycling is better than doing nothing. A good excuse to get back outside!

Franke, R. et al. (2021). Moderate intensity cycling is better than running on recovery of eccentric exercise-induced muscle damage. Physical Therapy in Sport. 50: 65-73.


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