When she finally completes her newly established routine, she breathes a sigh of contentment from her elation begot by the endorphins released through her physical exercise. She feels on the top of the world, ready to start again the next day. Until delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) kicks in and even the simplest tasks becomes a colossal challenge.
Sore muscles occur after arduous physical activity, generally whenever a certain muscle is exerting a great amount of force in the exercise. In addition, when a muscle is used in a new way, for instance, trying out a new exercise, it is common for soreness to develop. DOMS occurs when muscle tissue is broken and is beginning to rebuild by adding to the cells the tissue already has. This can last three to five days.
Soreness is far from uncommon, especially to newcomers to a specific exercise. During the onset, it is important to note to not overexert the sore muscle. Additionally, avoiding tension whenever possible will help prevent injuries.
Although waiting is the only way to completely remove soreness, there are several methods to alleviate the pain.
Stretching is often regarded to be helpful in both preventing soreness and providing relief. Before any rigorous workouts involving a particular muscle, it is highly advised to stretch before and afterwards to minimize the soreness that could onset. Even after DOMS sets in, stretching can help ease the pain by removing any potential tension. To avoid risk of injury, use light stretches when alleviating sore muscles.
Hydration is imperative to exercise, and ensuring your body has sufficient water will assist both before and after the activity. It is advised to make sure that you drink water to replace the fluid lost during the exercise. Although drinking water won’t necessarily relieve any pain from soreness, it will help with recovery and future prevention.
Taking care of the sore muscle through temperature or even simple massaging greatly helps in relieving pain. Heating can increase blood flow to the sore muscle and icing can relieve possible inflammation of the muscle. Massaging the muscle, although difficult unless trained, can help by taking care of the tightness that may be there, in addition to increasing blood circulation.
DOMS is a very common obstacle that athletes face, and it is important to note that while a certain muscle may be sore, other muscles can still work. Though the true importance to note is that preparation before and after a workout is what affects soreness.
Warming up and cooling down will greatly affect on the soreness afterwards, if there is any. Although with the myriad counter-measures and methods for alleviation from soreness, it is important to know that soreness is among the obstacles that athletes will face.
Credit: Gabrialla Cockerell/The Foothill Dragon Press