We’ve all heard the expression no pain no gain, but is post workout muscle pain really all it’s cracked up to be?
Never does this expression ring quite so true as to when we wake up the morning after a workout and can barely stumble out of bed.
Post workout muscle pain can be a bittersweet experience.
Part of you feels proud of working so hard while the other part is dreading the next time you have to get up from your chair.
When you work out, your muscles are being stretched and strained in ways that can make them tired and sore.
This is known as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS).
It is uncomfortable but nothing to worry about.
There are many ways you can mitigate post workout muscle pain and minimise the amount of stiffness you experience following your workouts. Here are some tips on dealing with DOMS:
Why Does Our Body Feel Pain After a Workout?
Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is muscle pain that begins a day or two after you’ve worked out harder or in a different way than your body is normally used to.
Contrary to popular belief, it is nothing to do with any increase in lactic acid within the body. Rather, it is the result of the body repairing the microscopic damage to the muscles during the workout. The process of exercise followed by the body repairing this damage is what creates stronger, larger healthier muscle.
Don’t confuse it with any pain you feel during or immediately after a workout. Pain during a workout or immediately after is not DOMS. It is acute muscle soreness which is the result of a buildup of lactic acid as you exercise. This pain will subside as soon as you stop exercising or shortly after.
Pain during/immediately after a workout = Acute Muscle Soreness
Pain 24-48 hours after a workout = DOMS.
As your body becomes more accustomed to the activity your muscles will become more conditioned and the soreness will lessen.
Don’t use DOMS as an excuse to quit working out!
Continuing your workouts will result in progressing the muscle conditioning that creates DOMS. You will soon find that the effects ease as your body becomes used to the activity in question.
How Can I Prevent DOMS?
Any new activity or movement that your body is not used to will result in some soreness occuring. There are things you can do both before, during and after workouts that will reduce the muscle pain resulting from DOMS.
Starting any new activities slowly and building up gradually will help your body to adapt to it.
Warm Up, Cool Down and Stretch
Take time to make sure you are properly warming up your muscles so they are ready to take on that strain.
Follow up the workout by performing a lengthy stretch. Stretching loosens up the tense muscles which helps to reduce the amount of post workout pain you feel afterwards.
Take Regular Rest Days
Rest days are also important. You might feel that working out as hard as you can, as much as you can, will help you to see results sooner but that is not true.
Do not fall into this line of thinking!
Rest days are a vital part of your training programme.
Your body needs periods of rest to help to fix itself and become stronger so make sure you take rest days to help you to reach your fitness goals.
This does not mean that you need to do absolutely nothing, although you can if your body needs. Active rest days mean you can go for a walk, a swim or a gentle yoga session to give your body a break from more intensive exercise sessions.
Drink More Water
Another way of helping your body recover from DOMS more easily is to drink more.
Yes, we know you know but do you drink as much water as you should?
Staying hydrated will also help to reduce the amount of post workout pain caused by DOMS. During a workout your muscles are working hard and they need to replenish the water your body lost.
Drinking water before, during, and especially after your workout will help to speed up your recovery time. It also improves blood flow throughout your body.
This, in turn, aids your muscles in repairing themselves and will help with any stiffness or soreness the following day.
Try Foam Rolling
Foam rolling can be an effective way of reducing the effects of DOMS. Some people swear by 10-20 minutes of foam rolling while others find it doesn’t make a difference.
While the evidence indicates only short-term benefits, if any at all, incorporating it into the end of your workout certainly does not have any negatives. Why not give foam rolling a go?
Changing your life starts with a Personal Training 1-2-1 or group session at Blue Ocean Fitness.
Work out at our on-site facility at Blue Ocean Fitness in Maidstone or we can come to you through our Mobile Personal Training Service.
Book a session online, contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or text or WhatsApp Tania on 07761 867 123 for more information.
Looking good and feeling great starts here.