DOMS and Continuing With Your Exercise Program

June 6, 2017
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Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is a common occurrence after engaging in strenuous physical exercise, especially when its intensity, duration and frequency have been increased. But it shouldn’t stop avid fitness enthusiasts from runners to bodybuilders in continuing with their exercise program – unless, of course, their overall health will be adversely compromised, such as when it isn’t just muscle soreness at work.

Definition of DOMS

Exercise physiologists define DOMS as the gradually worsening discomfort occurring between 24 and 48 hours after physical exercise – and it’s as normal as can be. This is the result of physical stress placed on the muscle tissues beyond what they are used to, such as when the sets and reps are increased or when new exercises are introduced.

To be more specific, DOMS usually happens when the affected muscles have performed a lengthening contraction, such as in a bicep curl or downhill running.  The microscopic tears in the muscles result in mild muscle strain that, when coupled with the muscles’ inflammatory response, cause the painful sensations.  

But these muscular pains should be minor in nature only since these are indications of the muscles adapting to the exercise-related stress. For this reason, DOMS is your body’s typical response during the beginning phase of your workout program. You shouldn’t have any cause for concern since it’s also an indication that your body’s becoming stronger and better.  

The bottom line: You should continue exercising even when you experience DOMS after your exercise sessions at a David Barton Gym. But you should see your doctor when you have concerns about chronic muscle soreness because there may be something deeper to it.

Cope with DOMS

Fortunately, you can effectively cope with DOMS with a few easy steps although emphasis must be made that there’s no panacea for it.  

  • Warm-up with dynamic stretching exercises before your proper exercise phase. Cool down, too, with 10 minutes of easy aerobic work and stretching. These will aid in reducing the intensity of DOMS so you can continue with your program ASAP.
  • Let your body rest and recover for a few days. You should give your body sufficient time to adapt to the new stresses. You may also try light exercises, such as swimming and walking, if you still want to continue with your fitness program.  
  • Use heat remedies in treating your sore muscles. This will increase muscle temperature that, in turn, will increase blood and oxygen flow to the muscles. You can benefit from the faster healing.  

In conclusion, you don’t have to push yourself to your physical limits just to gain muscle or lose weight. But moderate muscle soreness after physical activity is a good thing for your body, too.  

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