What Is DOMS?
Have you ever tried working out for the first time or mixed your fitness routine up and tried something new and your muscles ache for days? This is DOMS - delayed onset muscle soreness. AKA the walking like John Wayne feeling! DOMS is caused by micro tears in your muscles. From the athlete to the beginner, DOMS can affect anyone.
Have you heard the phrase “no pain, no gain”? You may have heard people say that a workout isn't effective unless you're sore after but that is not true. When you start a new exercise routine or push yourself, your body will ache afterwards but as you keep up with your exercise routine, your body adapts as you get used to it and you feel less pain.
How Can A Warm Up Prevent DOMS
Do you know why you need to warm up? Studies have shown that a warm up can help reduce the severity of DOMS. 5-10 minutes of dynamic stretching and light cardio raises your heartbeat, improves blood flow, and warms you up. This prepares the body for more intensive exercise and reduces the risk of DOMS and other injuries. It is important to note that studies have found that static stretching (where you hold the stretch) doesn’t prevent DOMS and should be left for the cool down.
How To Treat DOMS
Do you know how to treat muscle soreness? DOMS may occur no matter what we do, so it is important to know how to handle it.
- Apply Heat. Do you take a bath after exercising? Heat is a great tool for recovering after exercise. Heat opens up blood vessels, allowing blood and oxygen to reach the affected muscles faster, and helps muscles to relax. Run a nice long bath or use a heat pad or hot water bottle to soothe those aching muscles.
Keep It Cold. Cold treatments work just as well as warm ones; this has been shown through athletes and ice baths. If like us you don’t have an ice bath at home don’t worry ice packs work will reduce swelling.
- Have A Massage. Multiple studies have shown that massages are a great way to reduce muscle soreness. The same studies found that a massage is most beneficial 48 hours post workout. So treat yourself to a good massage to ease your muscle soreness, or try a self-massage. Apply some oil and knead, squeeze, and gently shake your muscles, focus on your legs, buttocks, arms, and shoulders. If a regular massage is not an affordable option, foam rollers are a great way to help reduce DOMS.
DOMS can be off-putting for anyone who is starting to work out, but it doesn’t have to be. There are ways to treat the symptoms so you can get on with your day but the best way to handle DOMS is with a good warm up, and we have a fantastic blog for that here.