Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness or DOMS
When you begin a new exercise program, change your exercise routine, or significantly increase the duration or intensity of your exercise routine may find that you are sore the next day. This muscle soreness that occurs about 8 to 48 hours post exercise is called Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness or DOMS.
There are many theories as to the cause of this soreness. The most popular one seems to be that the soreness is as a result of micro tears in the muscle brought about by exercise. Although exercise induced soreness cannot be completely eliminated there are a few things that can be done to reduce the soreness or speed up recovery when you experience one.
- Nutrition: The muscles most efficiently absorb nutrients for energy replacement and repair in the two-hour window post exercise. Take advantage of this window to give your muscles the right raw materials it needs for repair and growth. That is protein, healthy fat and good carbohydrates.
- Hydration and electrolytes: Try to drink one liter of water for each hour of exercise. Electrolytes can be replaced by drinking coconut water.
- Compression: Techniques such as massage and a foam rolling helps to remove tight spots from muscles.
- Blood Flow: Improving blood flow to the muscles can help speed up recovery. Ways to do this include performing light stretches after workout, alternating every 30-60 seconds between hot and cold running water in your post-workout shower, taking an ice bath or placing ice packs on the sore muscles. I do the ice bath after my marathons and I can walk of 3 inch heels the day after.
Some people take NSAIDS (Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatories like Advil) to temporarily reduce the muscle soreness. This is not a good strategy. Killing the pain with drugs inhibits the adaptation response of exercise and NSAIDS are hard on the kidney and liver.
DOMS may be best treated by prevention. Warm up completely before your exercise session. Start small and build up intensity gradually. Rest and Recover. The soreness will go usually go away in 3 to 7 days with no special treatment if you wait it out.
What has been your experience with DOMS? What strategies do you use? Please let me know your thoughts!