Muscle soreness or DOMS, Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness is basically the after effect of the stress you put on your muscles when you are working out. The most important thing to understand about it is that it is completely normal. Don’t let it get in the way of your journey towards a healthier lifestyle. DOMS usually kicks in within 6-8 hours of performing the workout and it can last upto 24-48 hours after the workout.
Everyone faces the risk of getting muscle soreness, be it a professional body builder or an athlete. What this pain implies is that you are growing stronger and it is completely normal. While working out when you stress your muscles the fibre in your muscles begin to tear but the rebuilding process makes them even stronger and larger than they were before. So you can say that the muscles after the soreness will be better prepared for your next workout.
The most common reasons behind experiencing the delayed onset muscle soreness are :
- When you are trying a new workout routine for the very first time or doing it after a very long time.
- When you increase the intensity of your ongoing workout in the form of increasing the weights, repetitions, speed or duration.
- When you repeat the same workout over and over again without allowing resting period to your body.
You can ease the muscle pain by doing some gentle low intensity exercises for example walking, stretching etc. You may feel it is painful but it is very important that you use the sore muscles gently. The more you move them the faster the recovery will happen. You can also consider a hot shower post the workout but ice packs work the best as they help in reducing the inflammation and swelling in the muscles.
Until here we have spoken about the good and positive part of the muscle soreness; now lets get into the more complicated side of it, What if the soreness is too bad and lasts longer. Well if thats the case, then it is not just soreness but pain due to overuse of the muscle or an injury. If the pain is too much for you to carry out your daily routine activities or if the pain has lasted for more than 72 hours then the exercise was too much for your body. Also normal soreness is felt within 6-8 hours of the workout, if you feel any pain while doing the exercise or just after the workout then it is not soreness. When you feel any shooting pain while doing any particular exercise it is your body signalling you to stop and save yourself from any serious joint or muscle injury. Specially when you feel extensive pain right after the workout, you should immediately seek medical attention.
To sum it up, if you are feeling discouraged from your exercise routine due to the muscle soreness please hold on, you will get past it in a few days. Things will get better and your muscles are going to thank you later. 🙂