Keep on skiing: There is no gain without a little pain | VailDaily.com

Keep on skiing: There is no gain without a little pain

Elizabeth Eber
Powder Lines
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Mention “the morning after,” and imaginations run wild. Mention “the morning after skiing,” and your imagination might be all that runs wild.For many, the morning after an early season ski day just plain hurts, and the thought of running anywhere – much less skiing again – hurts even more.

Conventional wisdom has taught us that this post-exercise soreness is due to the build up of lactic acid in the muscles which, by the day after exercising, still needs time to dissipate. Massage and soaking in a hot tub were thought to do wonders to lessen the pain and speed the recovery.However, recent research has exonerated lactic acid by finding that it dissipates within an hour or so after stopping the exercise. So now, no one claims to know for sure what causes “day-after” post-exercise muscle soreness. Nevertheless, there still is a theory.The most recent scientific research results, as described in the Nov. 16, in The New York Times, indicate that the soreness is caused by microscopic tears in the muscles which occur from a use to which the muscles are not accustomed, and the consequent chemical by-products of white blood cells as they repair the damage.

The theory goes on to explain that as your white blood cells repair the tears, and cause you that pain, your muscles are preparing themselves to withstand less and less damage each subsequent time you do the new exercise.By continuing this cycle of exercise, damage and repair, you are strengthening the muscle fibers so they will no longer tear. After a while, not only will the fibers not tear, but the muscles will get stronger.If you’re looking for motivation to do preseason ski-conditioning exercises, on a microscopic level, this certainly will help. At the least, this theory should make it easier to tolerate your “morning after” soreness, and encourage you to just ski through it.

The conventional wisdom of die-hard athletes has always been “no pain, no gain.” According to the latest research, that’s not at all imaginary.Elizabeth Eber is an award-winning freelance writer who lives in Vail.Vail Colorado