Understanding DOMS:

DOMS, often experienced the day after exercising, is a common occurrence among fitness enthusiasts and athletes alike. It’s that achy, tender feeling in your muscles that can make even the simplest movements feel challenging. But what exactly causes it?

Mechanism Behind DOMS:

DOMS primarily arises from eccentric muscle activity, where muscles lengthen while under tension. This phase of exercise is particularly taxing on the muscles, causing micro-tears in the muscle fibers. These micro-tears trigger an inflammatory response, leading to the characteristic soreness and stiffness associated with DOMS.

Causes of DOMS:

DOMS can be triggered by various factors, including:

  • Unaccustomed Exercise: Engaging in activities that your muscles aren’t accustomed to, such as trying a new workout routine or increasing the intensity or duration of your usual exercises, can increase the likelihood of experiencing DOMS.
  • Intensity and Duration: The intensity and duration of your workout play a significant role in the severity of DOMS. Pushing yourself harder or prolonging your workout session can lead to more pronounced soreness afterward.
  • Eccentric Contractions: Exercises that involve eccentric muscle contractions, such as lowering weights slowly during resistance training or running downhill, are particularly effective at inducing DOMS.

Is DOMS Harmful?

Despite the discomfort it brings, DOMS is not necessarily a sign of harm or injury. In fact, it’s often viewed as a natural part of the muscle adaptation process. The temporary muscle soreness experienced with DOMS typically resolves within 48 hours and signifies that your muscles are undergoing repair and adaptation to become stronger and more resilient.

Managing DOMS:

While DOMS cannot be entirely avoided, there are several strategies to alleviate discomfort and promote recovery:

  • Active Recovery: Engage in light, low-impact activities such as walking, swimming, or gentle stretching to promote blood flow and aid in the recovery process.
  • Proper Nutrition: Ensure you’re consuming an adequate amount of protein and carbohydrates to support muscle repair and glycogen replenishment post-exercise.
  • Hydration: Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, as dehydration can exacerbate muscle soreness and delay recovery.
  • Rest and Sleep: Allow your body sufficient time to rest and recover between workouts, and prioritize quality sleep to support muscle repair and growth.
  • Gradual Progression: Gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts to allow your muscles to adapt progressively, minimizing the risk of excessive soreness.

In conclusion, while DOMS may be uncomfortable, it’s a normal response to unaccustomed or strenuous exercise and is indicative of your muscles adapting and becoming stronger. By understanding the mechanisms behind DOMS and implementing appropriate recovery strategies, you can effectively manage post-exercise soreness and optimize your fitness journey. Remember, consistency and patience are key as your body adapts and grows stronger over time.

To make an appointment, call our Claremont physio clinic on (08) 9384 1555 or our Nedlands physio clinic on (08) 6389 2947.

Related articles

DOMS | Why am I sore after exercise?

DOMS | Why am I sore after exercise?

Physiotherapy and Training Load Issues: A Guide to Preparing for a Running Event

Physiotherapy and Training Load Issues: A Guide to Preparing for a Running Event

ACL Injuries – conservative vs surgical approach

ACL Injuries – conservative vs surgical approach

Knee Pain? You Don’t Have To Live With It!

Knee Pain? You Don’t Have To Live With It!