Why You’re So Sore: Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness

Posted by Luisa de Luca on


Muscle Soreness

Feeling sore after exercising is a sign of a good workout – right? To some extent, the answer is yes. In order to strengthen muscles, you have to put strain on them, which is likely to leave you uncomfortable. However, there’s another type of soreness that can take pain to a whole new level. It’s the lingering pain that lasts for days and seems to get worse before it gets better. It’s called Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is a term used to describe the pain and stiffness you experience after strenuous exercise. While it begins during your workout, you don’t usually experience the symptoms until 6 hours after at the earliest. In most cases, the worst pain doesn’t kick until 24-72 hours after you did the damage. Despite being uncomfortable, it’s a normal response to exercise that will ultimately lead to greater strength and stamina. It’s most common to experience delayed onset muscle soreness after you do exercises pushing your body to a level of exertion it isn’t used to. That threshold is different for everyone since it’s based on an individual level of fitness. DOMS is caused by eccentric exercise, or activities that cause your muscles to lengthen while under strain. Walking, running, jogging, strength training, aerobics, and jumping are good examples of exercises likely to cause DOMS. This causes microscopic tears in your muscles resulting in pain and inflammation. If you wake up the morning after an intense workout and can barely move, it’s likely you’re dealing with delayed onset muscle soreness. A few other symptoms include local muscle pain, swelling of affected limbs, joint stiffness, reduced range of motion, tenderness to the touch, and temporary reduction in muscle strength. Typically, you don’t need to seek medical attention unless your pain level is debilitating or swelling becomes excessive.


Woman Exercising DOMS can be painful, and while there’s no way to speed recovery, there are ways you can cope with the discomfort while your body heals: ice packs, massage, tender-point acupressure, foam rollers, and pain relievers can make life more bearable. Your best bet is to wait it out – typically, symptoms should disappear within 3-7 days. During that time, it’s up to you whether you continue working out or not. There’s no evidence suggesting light exercise will either help or hinder your recovery. Listen to your own body. If you’re in too much pain, forego working out a few days. If it’s bearable, you won’t hurt anything with a little light activity. To tell the truth, no one is “safe” from experiencing delayed onset muscle soreness after an intense workout – even extreme athletes can push their bodies hard enough that the pain sets in. However, there are some strategies you can use to reduce the chances of experiencing DOMS:

1. Ease into exercise. The #1 reason people experience DOMS is doing too much too fast. If you haven’t worked out consistently in a while, be sure to start at a level your body can handle.

2. Allow time for recovery. Rotate which exercises you do each day to give muscle groups a break in between workouts, especially if you’re starting out. There’s nothing wrong with a rest day!

3. Don’t skip the warmup. Save the stretches for after your workout, but before you get started, do a light warmup activity (like running or jumping jacks) to loosen your muscles and prepare them for your workout.



http://breakingmuscle.com/strength-conditioning/doms-the-good-the-bad-and-what-it-really-means-to-your-training https://www.acsm.org/docs/brochures/delayed-onset-muscle-soreness-(doms).pdf http://sportsmedicine.about.com/cs/injuries/a/doms.htm http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/sore-muscles-dont-stop-exercising

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