Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) is a normal reaction to exercise or physical activity in which muscle soreness develops within 12- 48 hours after a strenuous activity. The soreness is believed to be a result of microscopic tears in the muscle fibers, and associated swelling response. This response is a part of the adaptation process, which allows the muscle to have more stamina and strength as it re-builds from the exercise load placed upon it.
It is important to realize that DOMS soreness does not mean that there is a muscle injury! DOMS typically disappears within 48-72 hours, and is much less intense the more frequent the exercise routine is performed.
Some helpful advice
DOMS symptoms have been shown to be less intense in some individuals that follow this advice:
Warm Up – Start with a few stretches targeting the area of the body you will be working. For example: Playing Tennis? Stretch legs, back and arms, Going Biking? Stretch legs and lower back. Also do some “dynamic stretches” which mimic the movements you’re about to do. For example: Going Jogging? Start by walking briskly for a few minutes. Going Golfing? Start by holding a light hand weight and rotating your upper body from side to side.
Cool Down – Slow down the activity you are doing for the last few minutes before you just stop. Don’t just sit or lie down, but continue to move by walking around a little, get a drink. Don’t forget to stretch! Stretching will help loosen up the muscles you just worked out, and help you get ready for your next workout.
Ice – Exercising naturally causes an inflammation response. Ice will decrease the temperature in the area, and help decrease the inflammation. Icing 10-20 minutes is plenty, and it can be done as needed throughout the day.
Massage – If you have the time and money, booking a massage will help the aching muscles. A massage therapist can help work the toxins out of the sore muscles, and help them to relax. Don’t have the time or money for a professional massage, try rubbing the area yourself.
Don’t Stop Moving – If the pain isn’t too bad do some light exercise, you can work the same muscles just use lighter weights, less reps, or less intensity. Sitting or lying down for too long will just cause the sore muscles to stiffen up even more.