Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) is a term used to describe the stiffness and discomfort experienced sometime after completing exercise, typically felt between 24 and 72 hours after the offending session. It is characterized by a sore, aching, and painful feeling in the muscles after unfamiliar and unaccustomed intense exercise.
DOMS is thought to be due to temporary muscle damage and inflammation, often caused by activities that lengthen the muscle while force is applied, known as eccentric muscle actions. It is important to note that DOMS is not the same as acute muscle soreness, which is the burning sensation felt in a muscle during a workout due to a quick energy demand and usually disappears shortly after exercise stops. DOMS is a normal response to unaccustomed or intense exercise and is usually a positive sign post-exercise, indicating that the muscle is healing into a stronger state than before the activity.
While DOMS generally gets better on its own after a few days to a week, there are some measures that can be taken to reduce its duration, such as rest and some supplements. It is important to differentiate between DOMS and pain during exercise, as pain during a running session or sharp and highly localized pain are not characteristic of DOMS and may require different responses.
HERE'S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT DOMS
- Causes: DOMS is thought to be caused by tiny tears in muscle fibers from the stress of a workout. These tears lead to inflammation, causing pain and discomfort.
- Common in Runners: Runners, particularly those doing long distances or high-intensity interval training, frequently experience DOMS. Running uphill, downhill, or on hard surfaces like pavement can also increase the chances of getting DOMS. However, it's not exclusive to running and can affect anyone doing intense physical activities.
- Symptoms: DOMS typically involves muscle stiffness, soreness, tenderness, and a reduced range of motion. The severity varies based on the workout's intensity, duration, and your fitness level.
- Managing DOMS: To alleviate DOMS, try low-intensity exercises like light jogging, cycling, or swimming, which help increase blood flow and reduce muscle inflammation. Other methods include applying heat or cold, stretching, massaging the muscles, and ensuring proper rest and hydration. Eating protein-rich and complex carbohydrate foods also aids muscle recovery.
- Prevention: Gradually increasing the intensity and duration of workouts can help minimize the likelihood of DOMS. It's important to listen to your body and avoid pushing too hard too quickly to prevent injury.
In summary, DOMS is a normal response to new or intense exercise, indicating your muscles are adapting and growing stronger. While it can be uncomfortable, proper care and gradual training progression can help manage and reduce its effects.
Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) can be prevented after running by following these measures:
- Active Recovery: Engage in low-intensity activities immediately after running, such as walking or gentle swimming, to promote blood flow and reduce muscle stiffness.
- Adequate Sleep: Ensure you get enough sleep, as it allows the body to repair and recover, potentially reducing the severity of DOMS.
- Hydration: Stay well-hydrated before, during, and after running to support muscle function and recovery.
- Aerobic Exercise: Incorporate low-impact aerobic activities like cycling or light jogging to help reduce muscle soreness and aid in recovery.
- Massage: Schedule a massage after running to help reduce muscle soreness and improve recovery.
- Gradual Progression: Avoid sudden, significant increases in running intensity or duration, as gradual progression can help minimize the risk of DOMS.
By implementing these strategies, runners can reduce the likelihood and severity of DOMS, allowing for a more comfortable and effective training experience.