Muscle soreness from working out is one thing, but Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness is whole other beast. Ditch the myths and learn the top 5 tips to avoid DOMS.
Most people who’ve stepped foot in a gym have suffered through the unfortunate experience of DOMS.
Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, or DOMS, is caused by particularly high-intensity training sessions that push your muscles to their limit and cause micro-tears. These tears require additional resources in the form of inflammation to heal.
And while Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness is most closely connected to eccentric workouts that focus on loaded stress while lengthening your muscles, truthfully?
Whether you’re beginning training or an experienced athlete:
DOMS can strike at any time.
This could sound like the final nail in your workout programming coffin.
“Give up now on crushing your fitness goals,” the despair in you cries.
“It’s not worth it to suffer the trembling muscle aches, bone-crumbling fatigue, and flu-like tenderness that accompanies DOMS!”
Another bummer? Most of the research used by articles discussing the magical power of stretching before and after workouts, drinking plenty of water, even using ice baths to relax your muscles? Yup – we’ve debunked that research.
But if you’re wondering how to reduce DOMS, or how to get rid of DOMS? You’re in luck.
While there’s currently no 100% effective way to prevent Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, there are numerous methods you can employ to lessen the likelihood of your own face-to-face battle with DOMS.
Let’s start with the most enjoyable option – Massage. Although you might not be as relaxed as without DOMS, massage is a great way to relax your muscles and encourage movement.
When you experience DOMS, your body is sending additional resources to repair the micro-tears you’ve caused during training. These resources cause inflammation. So while a hard-core massage is not advisable and may actually worsen your DOMS, a light therapeutic massage can help relax tension throughout your body.
2. Stay Hydrated
Water sustains us. Roughly 60% of your body is water -without it, you suffer from mental fatigue, slow cognition, and fluctuating emotionality. Staying hydrated is crucial to lessening the potential of DOMS.
Here’s the catch: It only helps before Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness sets in. Once you’re suffering Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, there’s not much you can do other than get through it.
Drinking enough water to prevent hydration is critical to ensure adequate blood flow to muscles while working out. It’s one of the few research-backed tips that’s stood the test of time. Prioritize getting in your H2O – it might be the key to staving off the effects of a true thigh-trembling training session.
If you’re a fan of Indian food, you’re probably familiar with this funny little herb. It’s the main activating component in Turmeric, known for its anti-inflammatory effects and healing-potential. After examining the effects of Curcumin on preventing DOMS, a study conducted in 2015 found that supplementing Curcumin lessened pain after eccentric overload in training, and moderately enhanced recovery.
Pro Tip! Our bodies don’t absorb Curcumin easily – increase Curcumin’s bioavailability and ability to prevent Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness by adding in black pepper.
4. Heat It Up!
You’re familiar with the concept of ice baths which, contrary to popular belief, don’t decrease soreness and actually reduce strength in future training sessions. How about heating things up? A study in 2006 found applying heat to the lower back for several hours prevented and reduced early symptoms of DOMS.
Another study found a “warm underwater jet massage” reduced muscle soreness among 14 participating junior track and field athletes. And while we need more research before claiming hot-tubbing as the cure-all to Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, why miss an opportunity to soak up some steam?
5. Fix Your Sleep!
Last but not least, the mother of all cures: Sleep. Although getting enough sleep does not directly ‘cure’ DOMS, it’s crucial to staying healthy.
Don’t believe me? One study summarizes, “Chronic insomnia is associated with absenteeism, frequent accidents, memory impairment, and greater health care utilization. The most consistent impact of insomnia is a high risk of depression”.
When you don’t prioritize your sleep, your health falters. Research shows you’re at higher risk for migraines, irritability, reduced appetite, decreased immunity and increased likelihood of getting sick. Specifically, prioritizing your sleep boosts athletic performance, decreases the risk of injury, and enhances your recovery.
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