By Jordan Cieciwa (@FitCityJordan)
One of the best signs of a job well done in the gym is a little muscle soreness. You know, the pain that makes going to the bathroom interesting, or makes you think twice about going anywhere with stairs. For those who love the gym life, delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is a badge of honor, but for anyone just starting, it’s a reality that can keep you from ever going back to the gym.
What is DOMS?
Basically, when exercise is new to you or you increase your level of intensity, your muscles tear slightly at a micro-level. DOMS sets in several hours after exercise as a result of your muscles’ repair process.
Good Things Are Happening
The good news is your body quickly adapts to ensure it doesn’t happen again, so if you maintain the same level of intensity for a while, or if you gradually increase your intensity, you may not be as sore.
Still A Mystery
We still don’t completely understand the cause or how to fully prevent DOMS, but here are three remedies that have some scientific backing.
Massage –You are still going to experience some soreness, but getting a massage will help relieve some of the pain. Even if you are still aching afterwards, at least you got a great massage out of it.
Hot Bath or Sauna –The heat will help loosen your tight muscles and improve circulation, bringing some much-needed blood to your muscles. After all, you need blood flow to the affected area because it flushes out any chemical irritants and brings oxygen and nutrients to your muscles to assist with the healing process.
Nutrition – This is an overlooked and often undervalued part of most peoples’ lives. As mentioned, DOMS is a result of micro tears in your muscles, so you’ll need the right nutrients to help repair those tears. Eat foods rich in antioxidants, which can help boost recovery, and those with muscle-repairing nutrients such as zinc and protein. You should also drink lots of fluids to clear out any chemical irritants in your system and avoid dehydration, which will only increase your soreness.
Whatever you do to get better, know that DOMS is your body telling you that you need rest, so take it easy until you begin to feel normal again; going too hard will only increase your risk of injury.