You have had an intense workout session and you go to bed with the determination to do it again the next day. Come cockcrow you realise that you can barely get out of bed, let alone wanting to hit the gym.
Yes, you are experiencing DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness)! A common phenomenon that athletes experience after an intense physical activity.
There are several ways in which you can combat it. We are going to learn to do exactly that today!
The muscles in your body go through a substantial amount of stress as they are eccentrically contracted beyond what they are used to. Small microscopic tears occur in the muscle fibres.
[pullquote]The damage caused due to this accompanied with inflammation causes pain. This in simple words is what we call delayed onset muscle soreness. This usually takes effect between 24 you 48 hours post a physical activity.[/pullquote]
Hold up! – Before this deters you from taking up a sport or working out. Muscle soreness is a common occurrence and happens to the best of athletes.
If you are a beginner, it is only natural for you to experience DOMS and that much more crucial for you to know that there are things that you can do for it to go away.
Things that you should do to alleviate pain:
- Foam rolling: Foam rolling loosens up the fascia which is a soft connective tissue. This, in turn, loosens up the muscles making it warm and stretch easily while reducing muscle tears.
- Ice bath: Ice is known to reduce swelling in the muscles and joints. Icing or taking an ice bath is very effective and common technique amongst athletes for pain relief.
- Increase protein intake: The muscle tears that occur during a physical activity need protein for restoration. Increasing the protein intake post-exercise fuels the body to do just that.
- Warm-up and cool-down: Both warming up and cool-down helps to alleviate muscle soreness and should not be avoided. A warm-up helps to increase mobility and decreases the chances of an injury and muscle soreness. A cool-down relaxes your body and eliminates the lactic acid (contributing to muscle soreness) that build up during a strenuous physical activity.
- Deep tissue massage: This is very effective in relieving muscle soreness especially after a physical activity.
- Drink enough water: Make sure to drink enough water before a workout. Dehydration can cause muscle soreness and can be avoided with a conscious effort.
- Exercise: This might sound odd but doing light exercises like jogging increase the blood flow to your muscles. This helps in recovery as it provides the necessary oxygen and nutrients to the muscles.
- Over the counter pain relievers: This is another way of treating sore muscles. Checking with your doctor in case you are on any prescribed medication is a good idea.
Muscle soreness can be intimidating for someone who is starting out but there is nothing to worry. It is common and an indication that your muscles are adapting to the new regime and getting stronger.
Follow the steps listed above and it will help you get through the first week of your routine without getting discouraged or giving up.