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Why Are Muscles Sore After a Workout?

We’ve all been there: crushed a tough workout today only to be rewarded by stiff aching muscles next morning. Either your T-shirt gets stuck on you, or you get stuck on the chair needing a hand to get up. Turns out this uncomfortable feeling, otherwise known as delayed onset of muscle soreness (DOMS) is actually a pretty normal side effect of muscle rebuilding.
DOMS is often mistakenly believed to be caused by lactic acid build up, however, lactic acid is not involved in this process.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

DOMS is a result of microscopic tears in the muscles and surrounding connective tissue as a result of eccentric exercise. Eccentric phase, often called the negative phase of the movement occurs when a muscle is lengthening. Common examples are lowering of a dumbbell from a Bicep Curl or running downhill.

WHO CAN DOMS AFFECT?

Anyone can develop DOMS, even those who have been working out for years! It can be alarming for someone exercising for the first time and may even keep them from trying again.

The good news is that the pain will decrease as your muscles get used to the new physical demands being placed upon them.

HOW LONG DOES IT LAST?

The discomfort usually starts to appear within 12 to 24 hours after exercise, peaks after 24 to 72 hours, and should disappear within three to five days.

But because the body builds tolerance and adapts pretty rapidly, DOMS should become less frequent as you continue exercising at the same intensity. Plus, just one soreness-inducing session reduces the chance of the same workout making you sore again for weeks or even months.

HOW CAN I TREAT DOMS?

There is no one simple way to treat DOMS. Nothing is proven to be 100% effective. Treatments such as ice packs, massage, tender-point acupressure, anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin or ibuprofen, and rest may help ease some of the symptoms.

CAN I CONTINUE TO EXERCISE WITH DOMS

Sure! Although it may feel uncomfortable, specially during the first few minutes, you may find the pain will go away during the workout. It will though, return once your muscles cool down. If the pain makes it hard to exercise, take day off. Alternatively, target a different muscle group the next day.

So train hard, look good and use DOMS to get an extra cup of coffee. I know I do 🙂

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