How to Prevent DOMS

We’ve all felt sore, achy or stiff after a workout. This is something known as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). It’s incredibly common and usually occurs after you’ve started a new exercise regime. Increasing the duration or intensity of your workouts can also lead to DOMS.

Why does DOMS occur?

Exercise and strength training causes microscopic tears in the muscle fibres. These are temporary and cause inflammation. Don’t worry, this is a completely normal process and doesn’t mean that you’ve injured yourself or done permanent muscle damage. It helps your muscles to become bigger and stronger.

Does DOMS mean I had an effective workout?

Muscle soreness isn’t indicative of the effectiveness of your workout or the level of your fitness. It is normal to not experience DOMS after a workout. You can still build up strength and fitness without necessarily feeling any DOMS afterwards.

How long does DOMS last?

DOMS will usually improve over a few days or a week. To help improve your DOMS, you can try stretching, massage therapy, applying heat and keeping hydrated. Muscle compression may also help.

How to prevent DOMS?

To help prevent DOMS, you can try to incorporate the following into your exercise regime:

  • Warming up and cooling down. This can be a short walk, dynamic stretches, standing heel raises or side stepping.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Apply ice to the muscle.
  • Massage your muscles with a foam roller, spiky ball or massage therapy.
  • Have regular rest days to allow your body to recover more effectively.
  • Gradually increase your exercise load, especially if it is a new movement or you have had time off.

Following these tips should help ensure that your body feels great after every workout. If your muscle soreness lasts for more than a week, book an appointment with a physiotherapist. We can provide you with individualised treatment and advice. Happy exercising!

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