What is DOMS?
DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) is the pain and stiffness felt in the muscles after exercise. DOMS typically occurs 24 to 48 hours after exercise and may gradually get worse during this window. Although after 48 hours the symptoms start to ease, DOMS may last up to 5 days.
DOMS occurs after performing exercise that your body is unaccustomed to. This could occur when starting a new exercise programme, changing your exercise routine, or increasing the duration or intensity of your usual workout routine. When we exercise to a high intensity, micro-tears occur within our muscles and then during the recovery process, those muscle fibres grow back bigger and stronger. Although it may feel unfair that your hard work causes you pain, just consider it as a good sign that your session paid off in your progress journey. If we perform the same exercises, same reps and same weights all the time, our body’s will ‘become stale and cease to adapt’. Alternatively, we should perform a continual progressive regime to make EVERY single session bigger and better to enable us to experience DOMS.
Many individuals believe that DOMS occurs as a result of a build up of lactic acid, but actually, it’s to do with muscle inflammation. Once we perform a progressive exercise session, the blood flow increases to the worked muscles to allow the healing process to occur which results in muscular inflammation. After a maximum of 48 hours post-training, inflammation will begin to improve your symptoms.
Treatment for DOMS
Muscle recovery can take up to 5 days. BUT, the lifestyle choices that you make post-training can speed up your recovery time. DOMS can be treated through:
- Light exercise – when we perform light exercise such as walking or restorative yoga, we improve our blood flow and mobility which in turns helps to speed up muscular recovery
- Sports massage/foam rolling/compression garments – a further way to increase blood flow to the worked muscles is through foam rolling and/or sports massages and/or compression garments
- Pain killers or deep heat – in the event of severe DOMS, you may find anti-inflammatory products such as ibuprofen or deep heat (do not use both together as deep heat contains pain killers, please read the packet for more information) necessary to help relieve your symptoms and speed up recovery
- Hot/cold baths – hot baths are the most enjoyable form of baths to ease DOMS but some athletes swear by cold baths for optimal recovery (I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t be able to bring myself to have a cold bath, hot for the win!). Moreover, alternating from hot to cold baths for 20 minutes also shows convincing evidence
- Anti-oxidants – berries such as raspberries, strawberries and blueberries have been suggested to help speed up recovery but the evidence has not been 100% convincing
- Nutritious diet – consuming a diet which contains plenty of vitamins, minerals and protein will help your body to recover much faster than an unhealthy diet
Well I hope you guys have found this helpful! I don’t know about you but because of my new training regime without heavy weights at the gym and taking part in our live sessions, I’ve been experiencing somewhat severe DOMS!
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