If you exercise, you most probably have experienced it.
DOMS is Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. It can begin as early as 8 hours after you exercise but usually occurs 24 – 72 hours after you begin a new exercise program, change your exercise routine, or dramatically increase the duration or intensity of your exercise routine. Most times, DOMS begins to lessen after about 96 hours, but it can last several days.
Everyone is susceptible to DOMS. If you are an experienced distance runner and you take a Boot Camp class for the first time, if you are returning to exercise after years of leading a sedentary lifestyle, if you try a new exercise, or reduce your rest time in between sets, or increase your intensity, you will most probably experience DOMS. You might feel it when you stand up, walk down stairs, or really at any time. There is a difference between pain and soreness though. Pain is bad. This soreness can be good.
What should you do when you experience it?
Well, frankly, nothing is 100% effective but these methods can help:
- active recovery – don’t sit on a couch or at your desk and moan about it. Get up and move around.
- ice bath
- gentle stretching and limited use of ibuprofen (this really only temporarily relieves the pain; it does not address the soreness)
- foam roller
- staying hydrated
- using recovery drinks such as Glutamine, and
- warming up and stretching immediately before your next physical activity
Note I didn’t suggest a massage. While I enjoy full body, deep tissue massages, unfortunately they don’t relieve the symptoms of DOMS.