We exercise intensively and the next thing we know, we have delayed onset muscle soreness or in laymen’s terms, muscle pain. In some cases, this does not only occur a few hours after the activity but extends to two to three days even. What is causing this pain and how do we really prevent it?
Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is the swelling of the muscles felt after 12 to 48 hours following a resistance workout.
Many athletes believe that extended muscle soreness is caused by a build-up of lactic acid that can be mitigated by cooling down after the workout. Although lactic acid is responsible for the soreness felt during and right after, it is not the villain which causes next-day(s) of soreness.
The real villain here is instigated by the result of small tears in the muscle tissues. DOMS is experienced after a breakthrough of muscles’ use, and this often occurs to newcomers to weight training, sculpting, swimming or fitness classes. As well, we encounter DOMS when we have a sudden major change in our exercise practices. When our bodies accept the exercise as relatively new and foreign, to welcome it, we need change. With this, we step into a next level and stretch into the limit our muscles can normally handle. Tension in the muscles thus exists after exertion.
However, it is important to note that muscle soreness is not necessary for our muscles to grow. Conversely, this muscle damage should not be considered as a reliable indication of muscle growth or flexibility.
How to Treat Muscle Soreness
Sore muscles usually are damaged. As with any injury, sore muscles must be given time to heal. During this course, we can have nice body massages and ample hours of sleep, take regulated cold showers, consume more proteins and carbohydrates and include antioxidants to our diet.
But as the cliché goes, “it’s better to be safe than sorry.” We cannot always wait for time and do its job. To admit responsibility for our own muscles, we must act on ways on how to prevent this damage.
How to Prevent Muscle Soreness
We must perform warm-up exercises before any rigorous sports activity, such as stretching, doing yoga poses, running and jogging to increase heart rate. Warming up “grooms” our muscles well, activates energy systems and prepares us both mentally and physically.
After our workout, we cool down by doing slow movements of stretching again, slower paces of jogs to catch our breath and enable oxygen in the blood to travel at a stable and normal volume before a complete rest. We must feel and contain the gradual decrement of physical activity, to guide our muscles through recovery. This recovery means that the body has returned to a balanced state through the restoration of body fluids and replenishment of energy stores and muscle tissues.
Both warm-up and cool-down exercises are aimed to enhance flexibility, minimize discomfort and prevent injury. While the recommendations on this page are good starting points, you’ll get a lot more benefit if you have a trainer or workout instructor who can assist you. Ultimately, take this advice: “Don’t be a hero.” Take your routines easy initially and gradually build up the intensity of your workout
Belle is the owner and blog editor of Lean and Fab Supplier. She is an athletic girl who loves running, gymnastics