You exercised a couple of days ago. But the muscle soreness is still bothering you?
Welcome to the world of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness! (DOMS)
You think that because of sudden, intense workout your muscle pain and soreness continues for 2-3 days?
Well… you are partially correct!
There are two types of muscle soreness…
Regular Muscle Soreness
This is the type of muscle soreness you experience immediately after your workouts.
It is low in intensity and usually exists for only a few hours.
Regular muscle soreness is a result of an intense workout and is generally a good sign.
No Pain No Gain!
Tip: How to Differentiate Between Muscle Soreness and Injury?
Say you have worked your legs. But both of them are aching. This is muscle soreness.
Now in a similar situation, if only one of your legs is paining or one of them is paining considerably more than the other one, it is a sign of an injury or wrong workout techinque!
Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness
As the name suggests, this type of muscle soreness is not immediate; it is delayed.
Delayed by how much?
Experts say “24-48 hours, but highly variable.”
It means – It depends. It is different for different people.
Any muscle soreness that is not immediate can be classified as DOMS.
When does DOMS happen?
For simplicity’s sake, let’s say you perform only push-ups every day.
For a week you have been performing 20 push-ups every day.
On the 8th day, you decide to increase it to 30. Any guesses what happens next?
On the morning of the 9th day, you will wake up with considerable pain and soreness in your hands and shoulders!
This pain may last for another day or two and is called DOMS!
So now it becomes simple to understand when DOMS happens…
- Whenever you increase the intensity of your regular workout
- Whenever you incorporate a new exercise (usually an intense one) in your workout regime
Now let us answer
Why does DOMS happen?
Before that, let us ask you another question.
What is the point of exercising?
Most of you would say that you exercise to lose weight. Some would say that you do it to stay in shape.
But both of these are results of one thing…
When you exercise or workout, your muscles tear up and become stronger, better toned and more powerful!
So this process of muscle tear up hurts. A lot.
Any guesses what this pain is called? You are right!
Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness!
So another thing we can establish…
Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) is something that is positive.
Now most of you must be really confused and thinking…
If DOMS is positive pain, why do we need to prevent or reduce it?
It pains, right?
Although a positive pain, it is something that distracts our minds off other things like work and family.
And by trying to reduce the torture of DOMS, we are not actually reducing the positive effects of DOMS.
There are a few ways in which we can reduce DOMS to make it more tolerable. Let us talk about them one by one…
How to Reduce DOMS?
If exercise is your entire day, warm-up must be your morning cup of tea or coffee!
You must never start working out without warming up.
People think that lack of time is a good excuse to skip the warm-up and start with the workout, but that may backfire!
If you have less time, reduce your warm up time proportionally; never omit warm-up from your workout.
It is always a good idea to keep a glass/bottle of water handy during workout.
Take a sip during every cool down period and you would be doing great when it comes to staying hydrated!
Eat Something ‘Before and After’ You Work-Out
‘Pre-Workout’ and ‘Post-Workout’ snacks make a lot of sense.
You lose a lot of calories and nutrients during workout.
It is a good idea to eat snacks just before and just after workout that is rich in carbs, has medium protein and low fat.
Use an Ice-Pack!
An ice-pack is a newbie’s favourite tool. Use it to reduce muscle soreness.
While other points are precautions, this is a cure.
Also, cold baths after workouts have been shown to reduce muscle soreness by about 20%.
Caffeine has been proved to improve endurance and strength if taken 15-30 minutes before a workout.
Also, it helps in reducing in chances of soreness that is imminent otherwise.
DOMS is positive pain – It tells you that you are doing great and intensifying your workout.
DOMS can be reduced by various ways like warming up, having snacks and caffeine before workout, using ice-packs or taking cold baths after workout and staying hydrated during the workout.
Happy Working Out! 🙂