Muscle Soreness

During this time there are many exercise videos hitting the internet so I have written this post to give a bit of guidance on how you may be feeling.

Did you have a go at your HIIT session but today you can’t walk, decided to go without socks and had to hobble down stairs?

Don’t worry too much there is a good chance you’re experiencing something called delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). Here is a little info to help get you through.

What is DOMS? It is stiffness and pain that most people will feel build between 24-48 hours after doing high intensity physical exercise or just exercise that your body is not accustomed to. Even trained athletes get DOMS when trying something new.

DOMS can be a sign you did something right, the whole idea of exercise particularly resistance training is that you are creating micro tears in your muscles, so that they can get stronger and firmer. Although it seems an unfair trade, soreness for wanting to improve fitness, it does show your fitness is progressing.

Why the next day and not straight away? For most the soreness will start within the first 24 hours and can peak at 48-72 hrs. It has nothing to with lactic acid and everything to do with blood flow and healing. DOMS creates inflammation around your muscles, a natural and required process to allow muscles to build and heal, this takes a little time.

What can you do to ease DOMS? you could have a warm bath and if you have some, Epsom salts; they are rich in magnesium that helps to boost recovery. If you think you may have really overdone it, you could maybe brave an ice bath but a good alternative is a contrast 20 minute hot and cold shower, every few minutes go from hot to cold and target areas of soreness.

Massage can be effective, right now during coronavirus if you have a foam roller you can try slowly rolling the areas of soreness, remembering to breathe. However your muscles maybe too sore for this so when you feel better in 2-3 days time, it can be something to try.

Gentle exercise like going for a walk, easy run/bike or yoga can get your body feeling back to normal.

Make sure you are eating well, you need all key nutrients to give your recovery a boost, steak, spinach, sweat potato and red peppers is just one example for a good muscle repairing meal.

Words of precaution for exercise

You can workout everyday but it is not advised to do a HIIT workout everyday, these are high intensity and need a few days recovery. If you are not use to these types of workouts then I recommend just one a week, for those use to exercise, then stick to 2 high intense sessions a week. All other sessions are about recovery and easy to moderate effort exercise can boost this. What is easy to moderate for some may be hard for others, it is very individual. If you do get DOMS and it lasts longer than 48hrs next time take it down a notch and build up gradually. It can sometimes last up to 7 days if you really over did it. Start with just 10 minute routines and build up to longer if you really are not use to these types of workouts.

Examples of high intensity exercise

Circuit training, HIIT, Running/brisk walk where you cannot talk, interval training whether running or cycling. anything that gets you heart rate zone into zone 4

Examples of easy/moderate exercise

yoga, pilates, easy running, walking, cycling anything that keeps your heart rate in zone 2-3.

Stay home, save lives. When exercising stay local and within your ability.