If you’ve ever worked out, you know the feeling of muscle soreness well. You know, the byproduct of a good, hard workout that might cause you to have trouble sitting down the next day. Like it or not, this muscle soreness is a good thing, an indicator that you did your part in breaking down your muscle so it can adapt and grow stronger.
What you are feeling when this happens is called DOMS, or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, and it typically occurs between 12-48 hours after any rigorous activity to which your body is unaccustomed. If you’re just working out for the first time, there’s a pretty high likelihood you’ll experience it full force in all its glory, depending on many things, especially your workout intensity (which is why it’s best to start slow and ease into it.) The good news is your body will actually learn how to adapt and, over time, you will experience it to a much lesser degree.
Although you can’t escape DOMS completely, there are several ways to help relieve some of the associated discomfort:
Gentle stretching — Slow, gentle stretching to the affected area will relieve tight muscles and diffuse the pain.
Ibuprofen — Other pain killers may be effective, but ibuprofen has been specifically show to decrease muscle soreness.
Massage — It hurts so good. Massaging sore muscle may be a bit painful but it goes a long way for loosening up tight muscles and increasing circulation (which, by the way, aids in recovery).
Warm bath — Also helps loosen tight muscles and improve circulation. You can also try an ice bath, although, in my opinion, it’s not worth the torture as research has shown it is no more effective than other methods.
Although it may be tempting, resist the urge to lie around letting your muscles get too tight. It will hurt worse, trust me. Get up, move around, stretch out a bit and smile knowing you’re making progress toward a better you.
Amanda May is a Factor X Fitness personal trainer. Reach her at AmandaMayFit@Gmail.com and Instagram.com/AmandaMayFit.