Everyone’s been there; you start exercising and you’re determined to make it stick this time! But then, you’re sore for days and can barely walk, extend your arms, or sit down. In today’s post i’m going to tell you how to deal with muscle soreness, especially when you’re new to exercise.
Yes, if you’ve ever been there you know the feeling that pops up around 24 hours after exercise and lasts up to three days… Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness! DOMS is painful but it’s pretty different from normal muscle pain and soreness.
Why it Happens:
DOMS happens when we perform exercise beyond our current physical capabilities. It’s our bodies natural response to rapidly repair our muscle tissue to ensure that an injury won’t occur when we perform that movement again. This is extremely common in individuals who have been sedentary for long periods of time who begin a new exercise regimen or individuals who train often but seriously up the intensity of their routine.
What to Expect:
DOMS pain is different from normal muscle pain and soreness and pain is generally only felt when the muscle is contracted. It may limit your range of motion temporarily; as above “t-rex arms” is common along with issues sitting on toilets or taking the stairs. Don’t worry, this pain peaks about 48-72 hours before subsiding. Note: if you experience the above symptoms along with swelling, intense throbbing pain, and dark(coffee or tea) colored urine see emergency services immediately. These are signs of a life threatening condition called rhabdomyolysis that can occur from too-intense exercise.
How to Relieve it:
First and foremost… time. I know that this sucks but sometimes even following the next few tips won’t help relieve it and you’ll have to resort to waiting it out! Some people find relief performing low intensity cardio like walking on a treadmill or treading water in a pool as the blood flow and increased heart rate reduces this muscle pain. This might sound counterintuitive and the last thing you want to do is MORE exercise, but you’ll find the more you keep moving the less pain you’ll feel. Some individuals find that staying completely hydrated and taking a small anti-inflammatory medication (topical like Voltaren Gel or oral like Advil) relieves this pain.
The Good News:
The great news is that once you’ve experienced DOMS it usually doesn’t happen again for quite some time as your body rapidly adapts to the stress it’s under. Keep pushing through, after a few weeks you won’t have to worry about it!