During the lockdown period, if you’re getting some challenging workouts in, you’ve probably had to deal with DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness). In this article I will be giving you 5 ways to prevent DOMS which normally is the pain you feel a day or two after a good, solid workout. The soreness you feel comes from your body running out of its energy source (ATP) and calling upon lactic acid which is there to help perform the exercise, but it comes at a cost. Read on for DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness): 5 Keys to Minimize it!
1. Active Rest Day
Rest days are very important. Muscle needs time to repair and grow. If on a rest day, you’re feeling sore it’s important to get your blood flowing so it can get into the muscle and shuttle out the lactic acid quicker. Simply just taking a walk or playing a sport at a low intensity with friends and family or simply just getting your steps in, all contribute to a quicker recovery.
2. Stay Hydrated
During a workout, your muscles will require more oxygen. When working out, oxygen is carried by the blood to the muscles and your blood volume is around 80% water. A low level of electrolytes contribute to muscle soreness. You’ll also need to replace the fluid you lost during that workout so make sure to drink at least another bottleful or try coconut water or an electrolyte drink.
Sleep is a super power in itself as it helps recharge the brain and release growth hormone which helps you grow and recover. When it comes to preventing or minimizing DOM, it’s handy to be aware that that all-important growth hormone is released in the later stages of sleep (REM sleep) so getting a good night’s sleep, of between 7-9 hours is highly recommended.
My advice would be to try and get into a good sleeping routine try and wake up at the same time and go to sleep at the same time this will help your body become even more efficient with the regular hours of sleep it’s given.
4. Increase Blood Circulation
This is extremely important to speed up the process of DOMS. You need to increase the blood flow around your body because when working out you create micro tears in your muscles which rebuild to make the muscle bigger. So you need to get more blood into the muscle in order to allow it to take the nutrients in and ‘flush’ out any lingering toxic chemicals that are causing pain.
An effective way of doing this is applying warmth. Having a warm (not hot) bath can help increase blood flow and also relax your muscles and joints. (Check out our review of the Beurer IL50 infrared heat lamp which we tested with positive results.)
5. Foam Rolling, Active Stretching & Massage
Using a foam roller is a great way to release all the built up tension and knots in the muscles therefore getting rid of muscle soreness. You also get a temporary increase in flexibility for around 10-20 minutes and if you regularly foam roll you will increase your range of motion.
Active stretching is great to do pre and post-workout as it warms the muscles up and prepares them for the workout. This will help to prevent the muscle soreness that you may feel post-workout. Active stretching post-workout allows you to increase the blood flow which will, once again help shuttle-out the lactic acid build up in the muscle reducing muscle fatigue thus allowing for faster recovery.
Lastly, massages are a great way to help get all the toxins and lactic acid out of your muscles – it really does help speed up the recovery process getting deeper into muscle tissue than a stretch. It will help you feel a lot better instantly but I wouldn’t just rely on massages alone as stretching is extremely important for actual longevity of your own muscles.