You must have experienced the struggle to get out of bed, to climb down stairs, after an intense workout. Whenever you push yourself harder during a workout, muscle soreness or pain starts kicking in. The kind of muscle soreness which is felt during the exercise routine is of acute type and should go away after the physical activity is stopped. When the same soreness condition is prolonged or starts in after a day or two, the condition is referred to as ‘Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness’.
Does everybody encounter DOMS?
Muscle soreness does not discriminate and may affect anyone and everyone regardless of their training level. This means, a person new to training or even a trained individual will experience DOMS if they push themselves during their exercise routine.
DOMS may occur by three different ways:
- When we excessively increase the frequency of exercise regime
- When we excessively increase the intensity of the exercise regime
- When we adapt an exercise routine which is not familiar and to which the body is not used to
How does DOMS function?
In delayed onset muscle soreness, usually the muscles experience soreness and stiffness. This happens because the muscles are not used to such level and extent of physical activity.
These activities put the muscles under stress and cause minor damages at muscle fiber sites (tiny muscle structures). The body responds to such damages and causes inflammation. This inflammation along with the damage causes pain and hampers performance.
How can it be prevented?
- Working of muscles under limit may lead to healthy soreness and the body is able to repair the damage caused due to such soreness. However, crossing this limit may lead to extreme or unhealthy soreness and pain. Therefore, rather than jumping into a very high intensity workout straightaway, it may be wiser to gradually increase the intensity of the exercise regime.
- A warm up routine can also be added before the regular exercise routine so that muscles get prepared.
In conclusion, it is believed that it is okay to continue exercising with little stiffness, however it may not be a good idea to opt for a high intensity exercise while having extreme soreness and pain levels. If this is your case, take a day off and relax. Rest is the key to recovery!