NEW YORK — If scaling a flight of stairs in either direction sounds exhausting, you’re not alone — two in five Americans feel out of shape after doing so.
A recent survey of 2,000 Americans finds strength or weight-training (38%), doing yard work (38%), and cardio exercise (37%) also leave respondents feeling uncomfortably sore. This may be why nearly three in five say they’re often reluctant to exercise at all.
Half of these respondents feel like exercising would be a lot of work and 47 percent dread post-workout soreness or aches and pains. In addition, some cite health-related barriers to working out, such as a chronic illness or disability; adding that these factors can make exercise particularly painful.
Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Massage Envy, the study also finds that self-identified “inactive” respondents can last just six days before they need to stretch or work out.
Nearly three in five agree that forgoing stretches before a workout always results in waking up sore the next day. For many Americans, pre-workout warmups usually involve neck stretches (42%) and shoulder rolls (37%).
While yoga mats (33%) and exercise balls (28%) are popular tools for stretching, common household items can also be handy. In fact, 43 percent just use a bath towel to help them limber up when professional equipment isn’t available.
Beating those brutal aches and pains
Sore limbs can serve as a wake-up call for 61 percent of respondents, who end up doing more stretches throughout the day. Half of respondents add they experience the most soreness in their legs, feet, and back.
“Our results show the importance of stretching as a preventative measure rather than just a reactive one,” says Beth Stiller, CEO at Massage Envy, in a statement. “While three in five stretch to relieve soreness, it’s also important to incorporate stretching into your routine as a preventative measure to avoid the aches and pains that can accompany activities such as working out or sitting at a computer for long periods of time.”
More than three in five people have tried DIY remedies instead of painkillers to relieve muscle soreness or aches. According to respondents, the most effective solutions include hot or cold packs (86%), more stretching (76%), essential oils (59%), and a massage gun (57%).
Americans also expressed a willingness to relieve their soreness in other ways, including massage therapy (53%) and assisted stretching (31%). More than a quarter are even open to trying cupping therapy (26%).
“It’s great to know that people are open to external remedies for aches and pains, and have found stretching to be so effective in providing relief,” adds Stiller. “There are plenty of other options available to relieve muscular discomfort for people to explore, including rapid tension relief and massage, without turning to medications which come with the risk of potential side-effects such as headaches and drowsiness.”