DOMS or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness is the muscle pain that that you sometimes start to feel 12 to 24 hours after the exercise has been performed and may produce the greatest pain between 24 to 72 hours after the exercise has been performed. DOMS is a result of physical activity that stresses the muscle tissue beyond what it is accustomed to. It usually is a symptom taking up a new exercise routine or after you increase the intensity or duration of your exercise program.
The muscle soreness develops as a result of microscopic tears to muscle fibres involved the exercise. Eccentric muscle contractions, which involve the muscle lengthening as it contracts (such as running downhill, jumping or the lowering phase of the biceps curl exercise), are more likely to cause DOMS.
It is unlikely that soreness can be avoided altogether but one of the best ways to reduce the severity of DOMS is to progress slowly to allow the muscles time to adapt to new stress. Aim to only increase your intensity or the duration of your exercise routine by about 10 per cent each week. Recovery is also important with active recovery (easy low-impact aerobic exercise like walking) being your best option to increase blood flow to the muscles.
Proper warmup is also important in preparing the muscle for the types of forces that may cause damage, but there is little evidence that warm-up will be effective in preventing DOMS symptoms. It is better to stretch after exercise (when the muscles are warmed up) but stretching has not been shown to reduce or prevent symptoms of DOMS.
The aches and pains should be minor and are simply indications that muscles are adapting to your fitness program.
Contact us if you need help with varying the intensity of your workouts. Health Jigsaw is a mobile personal training business in Sydney’s Lower North Shore and parts of the Eastern Suburbs.