Experiencing Muscle Discomfort Post-Exercise

Understanding Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) and How to Ease It

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, commonly called DOMS, is a frequent occurrence after vigorous physical activity, particularly for those new to exercising or who have recently upped the intensity or duration of their fitness sessions. Usually, DOMS manifests as muscle aches, stiffness, and tenderness, beginning a day or two after exercising and potentially lasting up to a week. In this article, we will delve into the causes of DOMS and offer some advice on mitigating the discomfort it causes.

The Origins of DOMS:

DOMS arises when muscles are stressed or strained, leading to tiny tears within the muscle fibres. This may occur if you undertake physical activities that your body is unaccustomed to or hastily increase the intensity or duration of your training sessions. Eccentric muscle contractions, which occur when a muscle lengthens while under tension (e.g., when lowering a weight), can also trigger DOMS.

Recognising DOMS Symptoms:

DOMS generally sets in 24-48 hours after exercising and may persist for up to a week. Common symptoms include muscle aches, stiffness, tenderness, and possible swelling or a diminished range of motion in the affected muscles.

Easing DOMS Discomfort:

While there isn’t a guaranteed method to avoid DOMS, there are several measures you can take to lessen its symptoms:

Rest and Recuperation: Give your muscles time to rest and recover by taking a break from intense exercise or participating in low-impact activities.

Stretching: Gentle stretching can help to alleviate muscle aches and stiffness.

Massage: Massaging the affected muscles may enhance blood flow and foster healing.

Ice and Heat: Alternating between applying ice and heat to the sore muscles can help to minimise swelling and ease pain.

Over-the-Counter Pain Relief: Over-the-counter painkillers such as ibuprofen or paracetamol can relieve muscle aches and reduce inflammation.

Progressive Exercise Increase: Gradually boosting the intensity and duration of your workouts can help to avert DOMS in the future.

To sum up, DOMS is a widespread phenomenon that can transpire following intense physical activity. Although it can be uncomfortable, various ways exist to alleviate the symptoms and encourage recovery. You can diminish muscle aches and stiffness by allowing your muscles to rest and recover, stretching, massaging, and using ice and heat applications. Remember to pay attention to your body and progressively increase the intensity and duration of your workouts to prevent DOMS in the future.

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