Exercise is one of the best activities that anyone can begin. There are many benefits to exercising, but one of the most dreaded results of exercise is soreness. Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) is the official term used to describe the soreness experienced 24-48 hours after exercise. Soreness after working out is often known as “good soreness” or some will say “no pain, no gain”, but this is not always the case. Although some pain is expected after exercise, not all pain is good pain.
Soreness after exercise or DOMS was once thought to be a result of lactic acid build up, but is now scientifically known to be a result of micro-tears in muscle and inflammation in muscle tissue from strenuous exercise. In the world of health and fitness, some pain from exercising is expected, but you must develop a barometer or measuring system in regard to the level of DOMS that you are comfortable with. If the level of DOMS that you experience is far too intense for your level of comfort, there are a few things you can do to minimize the level of soreness that you experience 24-48 hours after exercise is complete.
Tips for avoiding Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness
Take your time in achieving your goal
- If you attempt to achieve your goal overnight, chances are that you are putting more resistance on your body than it can handle, which can result in intense soreness and an increased risk of injury
- Use lighter resistance during your workout
- Decrease the intensity of your workout
Cool down after exercise
- After finishing the last repetition of your workout, do not just hop of the piece of exercise equipment and walk out the door
- Do a cool down workout to return you heart rate to its resting heart rate before officially declaring your workout complete
- At a minimum, stretch the muscle groups that were included in your workout
- Stretch each muscle group for a minimum of 30 seconds to lengthen muscles and increase the rate of recovery
Muscle soreness is a byproduct of exercise, especially if you are new to fitness and/or beginning a new exercise routine, but the level of pain should not be unbearable. Develop a rate of pain that you are comfortable with experiencing 24-48 hours after exercise, if you do not meet that level of soreness, you can either increase or decrease your level of intensity, depending on your specific goal. Remember, there is no sure way to avoid muscle soreness after exercise but you can decrease the level of pain experienced.