When you started your workout routine, you thought the workouts themselves would be the hard part. And while they're not easy, you're finding it's actually the couple of days after that are a challenge. Why do you feel so sore after exercise?
Odds are you're experiencing a common and benign condition called delayed onset muscle soreness.
What is delayed onset muscle soreness?
Delayed onset muscle soreness, commonly referred to as DOMS, is the soreness that sets in one to two days after a challenging workout. DOMS can happen to athletes at any level, simply by pushing muscles harder than they're used to. If you're new to working out, it may feel like every exercise you do causes soreness the next day. Don't let this discourage you, though—as your muscles adapt to your new, more active lifestyle, every workout leaves you sore.
How long does it last?
The pain from DOMS reaches its peak between 24 and 48 hours after exercise. Symptoms should then begin to ease, and be gone completely within a week. If you're in severe pain, refrain from activities that work the aggravated muscles. For instance, if your hamstrings are sore to the point that walking is difficult, skip running and try cycling or swimming instead. If your biceps are the problem, focus on working out your legs. DOMS shouldn't be an excuse to laze on the couch, but it may require you to scale back the intensity of your workouts.
If you're only mildly sore, it may be possible to continue your normal workouts. Usually the pain will lessen during the warm-up, and return once the workout is done.
What causes DOMS?
Previously, scientists thought that lactic acid buildup caused DOMS. One way research debunked this myth was by studying runners on a treadmill. Participants first ran for 45 minutes at a zero percent incline, and were then tested to see how much lactic acid was in their muscles. On a different day, they ran for the same length of time at a 10 percent incline. Lactic acid concentrations were much higher the first day, but participants reported more soreness after the second day's workout.
Scientists now believe that DOMS is caused by microscopic tears in muscle fibers. The damaged muscle becomes inflamed as it heals, and it's that inflammation that may be responsible for soreness.
The good news is, your muscles adapt quickly. The first time you try a workout, you may experience DOMS, but the next time your muscles will be more prepared. And while DOMs is far from pleasant, it can be a sign that you're challenging yourself and building muscle. That being said, if your pain is severe or doesn't go away within a week, it may be a sign you're pushing yourself too hard. If you have any questions about this, contact a local doctor like Valley Medical Care.
My name is Shawna Banks and this is a blog that focuses on health issues that affect women. I became interested in women's health when my sister began having medical problems. After her condition worsened, she went to see a doctor. After her diagnosis and successful treatment, I helped her research the different kinds of health conditions that are common in women. By becoming knowledgeable about these types of problems, we can keep ourselves healthier. I hope that when you read this blog, it will help you to identify symptoms that shouldn't be ignored. If necessary, you can schedule an appointment with your physician as soon as possible.