Ever wondered what the technical term is for ‘I
can’t move!’ which can often be heard that day following an intense workout
at the gym? Or maybe the day after that longer than usual morning run? Well, medical and fitness professionals call this delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMS for short.
DOMS is a common challenge for every day gym goers through to elite athletes. It doesn’t matter how experienced you are, how fit you are or how regular you exercise, you are still going to be prone to DOMS from time to time.
DOMS occurs as a result of exercise induced muscle damage, or inflammation of the muscle. This is caused by micro tears in your muscle fibres. There are lots of ways to fix the pain your get from DOMS, which can take up to 24 to start and then 72 hours to subside, following exercise. Symptoms include muscle aches, swelling and stiffness with the severity of the pain ranging from just a little frustrating through to agonising.
So how do you reduce DOMS and ensure you give your muscles the best chance of recovery so you can get back to the gym as quick as possible?
Rest is the simplest and most reliable treatment for post workout muscle pain, DOMS. Allowing time to recover through resting will allow the microtears in the muscle fibres to heal. This also makes the muscles stronger.
Targeted massage will stimulate blood flow to sore muscles groups and reduce swelling within the muscles.
Grab a foam roller and massage yourself as a great way to recover. Use a high-density foam roller and place your body weight and pressure on the muscles that are sore. This can also stretch and relaxes the affected muscle groups.
Treating muscle soreness and inflammation with ice packs is also common and highly effective if done within the first 24 to 48 hours following exercise. Grab an ice pack and apply it to the area of soreness. Cold water immersion or ice baths can also help, however, this is for the brave and is more common amongst athletes.
We don’t all like the concept of taking a seat on the bench, so active recovery may be an option for you.
Active recovery is partaking in less intensive exercise while you are recovering from an intense workout which has caused DOMS. It is important to perform a different activity to what caused DOMS in the first place. The key to active recovery is ‘light exercise’ as you don’t want to cause to further damage when already sore.
Drinking enough water will help to ensure that the toxins trapped in your muscles which make DOMS worse are flushed out faster. Ensuring your muscles are hydrated will also ensure they remain supple and more flexible. If a muscle is dehydrated it is far more prone to tightness and even injury. Drink water before, during and after you workout as well as across the course of your day.
In summary, extreme cases of DOMS will
see recovery take between 5 to 7 days however by following some of these simple
strategies you will speed up your recovery from DOMS and b able to get back
into your Plus Fitness much faster.
Remember, you have more than one muscle group to train! You can always be recovering one muscle group while you are busy working on another!