Do you ever feel an increase in discomfort or pain in your muscles 24 to 48 hours after working out? That is your body's way of telling you that you pushed your muscles just a little too far in your workout, and is known as DOMS. Defined as delayed onset muscle soreness, it can even come about six to eight hours after an intense workout and can happen to everyone, even professional athletes and bodybuilders! WebMD says that DOMS happens specifically when your muscle is performing an eccentric or a lengthening contraction like running downhill or lowering weights. It over-stresses your muscles so much that you can even get small microscopic tears, which is what causes the aches and pains.
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Contrary to what most people say — no pain, no gain — it's not always a good sign that you feel pain after an intense workout. You should listen to your body and tweak your workout regime a bit. Just like stretching helps to avoid injury before a workout, these tips will help you to avoid DOMS!
Cool down: After you finish your workout, incorporate a cool-down phase. Do about 10 minutes of jogging or walking after your workout so you can slow your body down gently. Intense workouts put a lot of stress on your body and so can going from a lot of activity to no activity in a matter of minutes.
Recover: When you finish an exceptionally intense workout, you feel exhausted! You have pushed your body hard and now it needs some rest. Don't worry, you can still work out. You'll just need to cool it on the tough workouts and start doing more low-impact exercises. Try to alternate your extreme workout days; figure out a schedule.
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Stretch: Try stretching before and after your workout. You should stretch before all your workouts anyway, but stretching can help you prevent DOMS too. It makes sure that you have enough blood circulating in your muscles, helps with muscle tension as well as helps you to relax.
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Avoid major changes: Intense workouts can cause DOMS and so can major changes in your workout regimen. If you suddenly decided to take up running or increased the number of weights you're lifting, you might start to notice a lot of pain in those areas. Again, you need to listen to your body. Try to gradually push yourself and slowly increase the time you spend exercising or the intensity of your workout.
Sometimes it's hard to completely prevent DOMS and you end up with it anyways. There isn't one pill that makes DOMS go away forever, yet. So in the meantime, to get rid of the pain and to help you recover faster, here are a few home remedies:
- Ice the area
- Take anti-inflammatory medication
- Get a massage
- Use a heated pad