After an intense workout, it’s normal to feel sore or stiff. You may even struggle to move. This is a natural physical reaction to the work you have done called delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS for short.
What causes DOMS? The current popular thought is that when we do resistance style exercise, micro tears are created within the muscle, which allows these muscles to get stronger. Because of this, the autoimmune system often sends signals that we’ve overdone it, which manifests in the soreness we feel.
How can we manage DOMS?
- Get into a mode of active rest. Though you will want to lay still to avoid the pain, you should actually try to move muscles in full range of motion throughout the day.
- Drink plenty of water. Stay hydrated and flush out impurities, which will help to maintain your muscles. Make sure you’re getting enough electrolytes such as potassium and sodium.
- Get an adequate amount of protein. This will help to add muscle and allow you to get stronger.
- Rest at least 48 hours between exercise sessions. You may be sore, but you are still capable of doing work. You may consider toning down the workout slightly, but there is no need to skip a session if you have rested adequately.
There are smart ways to get fit and improve your physique without experiencing DOMS after every workout. By having a good plan in place and doing everything in moderation, you will be better able to manage delayed onset muscle soreness.