Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) is a condition that occurs after strenuous, unfamiliar exercise and affects the muscle fibres, resulting in localised pain and discomfort. DOMS is commonly associated with extended endurance exercise and explosive types of exercise requiring forceful, muscular contractions, eg jumping, squats, downhill running. These types of contractions require the muscle fibres to separate forcefully, creating unusually high tension within the muscles and therefore causing the muscular soreness.
This condition has three main phases: 0-24 hours, where the pain begins to appear, 24-72 hours, where the pain peaks in intensity and 72+ hours when the pain subsides. This explains why someone that doesn’t exercise for awhile, then reintroduces an intense session, may feel more sore two days after the boot camp workout!
I find many people give up with exercise because of the post workout pain. To lessen the severity of DOMS, these are the strategies I recommend to new clients to help reduce the incidence and discomfort of DOMS:
- Make sure you do a 5 min warm up & cool down pre & post exercise.
- Introduce exercise gradually. Don’t go too hard too fast!
- Stretch the muscles worked as part of the cool-down phase by doing gentle stretches for at least 30 seconds
- Drink plenty of fresh water to help “flush out” the toxins from the muscles.
- Use cold packs to help reduce inflammation.
- Low impact exercise such as walking, pool running and swimming can provide relief and help to regain strength
- Anti-inflammatory medication can be used to reduce inflammation if the pain is too severe.
If you have questions about this article, or would like to know more about the overall health recommendations we give to our clients, just give us a call at 0421 287 107 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation.