If you’ve done any sort of physical activity, you may have experienced this scenario before. It’s the start of the season and you’re just getting back into a sport or workout. Your first session was a good one, where you pushed yourself and got in a solid workout. Everything’s good - until the next day or two. Then it’s pain city.
Post Workout Muscle Soreness
Delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS, is a common phenomenon that happens when your muscles are worked harder than they’re used to. It’s caused by microscopic damage to the muscle fibres. While that may sound bad, it’s actually a very good thing. This process leads to the muscles rebuilding itself, resulting in stronger and denser muscles than before.
DOMS happens to everyone, from the freshest beginner to the most seasoned athlete. Embrace the soreness - it’s part of the process that leads to increased stamina and strength. However, learn to differentiate between DOMS and injury. If you’re experiencing a sharp pain, or pain on one side of your body and not the other, there’s a chance it could actually be an injury.
The good news about muscle soreness? The more you train for that particular sport or workout, the less sore you should be feeling. Part of the recovery process involves building up muscles so that they’re less prone to damage from these same movements. In the meantime, there are several ways to treat delayed onset muscle soreness. Read on for more details!
Activity increases circulation, which increases blood flow throughout the body. Increased blood flow is thought to speed up the body’s repair process, which reduces muscle soreness. However, the key here is to perform gentle activity, such as walking or doing some light strength training (25 to 50% of your normal weights). Going back to your standard routine may risk damaging the muscles in a major way.
Another helpful way to treat muscle soreness is to do some light stretching. While stretching doesn’t heal the micro tears in your muscles, it can make you feel better by releasing tension and increasing range of motion. The key is to stretch until the muscle feels pretty tight, then hold for 5 to 10 seconds. Avoid overstretching the muscle, which could actually make it feel even tighter than before.
A well-documented treatment for reducing muscle soreness is wearing compression gear after a workout. A 2013 review published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine concluded that people who wore compression sportswear after workout sessions had quicker muscle recovery and reduced soreness compared to people who didn’t wear compression. Compression sportswear worked to counteract inflamed muscles by constricting fluid buildup, decreasing swelling and pressure.
Enerskin’s E75 collection of compression sportswear is designed to be worn in reverse (silicone side out) after working out to help further speed up muscle recovery. It’s one of the many unique features our products offer.
Research shows a correlation between dehydration and increased DOMS symptoms after working out. Staying hydrated helps your body perform optimally during the recovery process, which involves rebuilding muscle tissues and flushing out waste products and toxins. Plus, hydration is always a good idea for healthy bodies and minds.
Protein plays a big role during muscle recovery, since it’s a key nutrient for building and maintaining muscle. Make sure that you’re getting enough protein after your workouts, which ranges from 1.4 to 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. For example, an active person who’s 150 pounds should be getting 95-136 grams of protein every day.
Heat or Ice Therapy
Are you Team Heat or Team Ice? While the debate continues on which method is best for treating soreness, the safe bet is that either could help with muscle soreness symptoms. Ice helps reduce swelling, while heat helps minimize tension and pain signals. While heat or ice therapy won’t necessarily speed up the recovery process, they’ll definitely help you feel better.
Finally, time is the most important remedy for delayed onset muscle soreness. Post-workout soreness peaks 2 to 3 days after a workout and lasts another 2 to 3 days after the peak. So you’re looking at a week max of discomfort. It’s a small price to pay for getting stronger, and the great thing is that your muscles adapt. So embrace the pain, get stronger, and keep an eye out for potential injuries along the way!