DOMS-Busters

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You think you’ve got away with 
it. You pulled out all the stops at Metafit, and when you get home you feel like you could do it all over again. But then BAM! – 2 days later it hits. DOMS has struck again.

What are we talking about? DOMS (or delayed onset muscle soreness) happens a day or two after exercising, causing muscle pain or stiffness. It can make a set of stairs seem like Everest, and lifting the kettle suddenly feels like an intense workout. You know the feeling. . .

Most of us have felt the effects of DOMS, but do we know all the facts? We’ve gone myth-busting to arm you with the info you need to keep that pesky muscle pain at bay.

Myth 1: If I’m experiencing DOMS, I must be unfit

Here’s the good news – it’s actually a sign of improving fitness. It even happens to top athletes, so you’re in good company. And here comes the sciency bit: When muscles are worked harder than usual or in a different way, microscopic damage is cased to the muscle fibres and causing soreness for about 3-5 days.

But this damage isn’t a bad thing, it’s just your muscles’ way of adapting to new demands and this process leads to increased stamina and strength. Which is just what you’re aiming for!

Myth 2. If I warm up, I won’t get DOMS

It seems the obvious solution doesn’t it? But actually, there’s not much evidence to show that warming up or stretching will prevent sore muscles after exercise. BUT that’s not to say you shouldn’t warm up – it will reduce your chance of injury and improve performance too.

Your best bet is to ease your self into a new exercise routine gently. Follow The 10% Rule, building up your time and intensity by no more than10% each week. Patience really pays off here! That said, there are no guarantees, and if you do still end up sore or stiff try one of the following:

•    Foam rollers are great for post-exercise massage, especially if you don’t have any willing volunteers! It can hurt at first, but stick with it – you’ll thank yourself later. Keep an eye out for these at the Glasgow Club gyms.

•    Popular among pro-athletes is  . . .  the dreaded ice bath. While it’s claimed to be effective, we think we’ll give it a miss!

•    Far more civilized is yoga, an increasingly popular method for easing DOMS.

Myth 3. I shouldn’t do any more exercise whilst experiencing DOMS

While sore biceps can be a great excuse for shying away from the weights for a few days, it is actually perfectly safe to exercise if your muscles are a bit stiff or sore. Make sure you still listen to your body though and if the pain is making it hard to exercise, take a rest and target a different muscle group until you’re feeling up to it. This makes your workouts more fun and varied anyway, so it’s win-win!

Try drawing yourself up a gym timetable, working on a different part of your body every couple of days.

Myth 4. I’m always going to feel like this after exercise

Don’t let a case of the DOMS put you off. DOMS simply means your muscles are being conditioned, adapting to new activities. Once they get used to a certain activity or intensity of exercise, your muscles won’t complain quite so loud. So if you’re feeling stiff after your first 3 miles with the Glasgow Club Running Network, chances are the next week you won’t feel it nearly so much.



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