We all know that feeling of struggling to get up out of a chair or raise your arms to do your hair a day or two after a challenging workout, but why do we feel stiff and sore and how can we relieve the discomfort? In the fitness industry this discomfort is commonly referred to as DOMS or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, something we touched on briefly in our last blog.
The Australian Institute of fitness describes DOMS as “a combination of lactic acid, inflammation, connective tissue damage and muscle spasm. Eccentric muscle loading is the main cause of DOMS, especially in unfamiliar exercises where the muscles aren’t used to the load or stress.”
For some DOMS can take effect a few hours after the workout, a day or even two to three days after the workout. It is particularly common for those who are relatively new to exercise or don’t exercise as regularly as you’ve started using muscles that haven’t been used before or for a while. “In untrained individuals (or athletes who have taken a layoff from training), these two factors are prevalent and they usually experience the most severe cases of DOMS, even if the exercise is relatively mild in intensity.”
Long time bootcampers may not experience DOMS as much as people new to bootcamp as their muscles and brains are more used to the exercises. “Experienced trainers that don't vary their training stimulus regularly are likely to develop excellent motor neuron recruitment and become extremely accustomed to the specific stress applied.”
So now we know what it is, how can we ease the soreness?
Well there’s no simple answer here as everyone’s body is different and listening to how your body reacts to the exercises is the key. For those new to exercises sometimes a rest day or light walk might be required, for those who are more experienced or determined to keep going a massage or rolling helps to give a little relief (you can use a foam roller or even a tennis ball). However, remember at the end of the day like we mentioned in our previous blog - If you don’t factor rest into your training program, you will not maximise your recovery, and your overall performance will suffer. So if you’re too sore to walk chances are a rest day might be a good idea.
Feel free to discuss it more with us before or after class or even drop us an email!
Gav & Tiff
References and a little extra reading: http://fitness.edu.au/the-fitness-zone/article/muscle-soreness-after-the-gym-good-or-bad/