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Why am I sore after exercise? DOMS explained...

Have you ever experienced a dull muscle ache that makes it incredibly difficult to walk up steps, hang the washing on the line or worse… sit down on the toilet seat?

You can’t precisely pinpoint the cause of this soreness, but you do recall doing your first 5km two days ago or heaven forbid... you did your physio strengthening exercises.

You feel stiff, tight and sore but it's only really noticeable with movement (or sitting on some tender glutes - like on the toilet seat).

You're cursing your physio's name. "These exercises are supposed to make me feel better, not worse!" Do not fear, you are likely experiencing post-exercise soreness, otherwise known as Delayed-Onset-Muscle-Soreness (DOMS).

Let's dive into what DOMS is and what we can do about it!

DOMS is associated with ‘shocking’ the body to a new activity or unaccustomed exercise.

Examples of this may include:

- Starting leg day after ignoring your legs for the past 4 months

- Walking for over 2 hours on Sunday with the dog

- Starting a new home exercise program given by your physiotherapist (and getting mad at your physio)

- Heading into a 10ft Bells and paddling a lot more than you are used to…

But I trained legs 2 days ago and now I feel it?

Interestingly, DOMS is normally heightened 24-48 hours after activity.

Should I be worried?

It is not something to be stressed about! It is a natural reaction by our bodies as we adapt to new stimuli. If however, you experience sharp, shooting, constant unrelenting pain please come in and visit us at Marna so we can assess for potential injury/pathology.

Can I train with DOMS?

We know it is safe to train with DOMS. It's harder to get started, and some exercises can really hurt but it is safe and sometimes a great recovery tool!

How can I reduce my DOMS

Sadly there is no silver bullet to immediately fix DOMS. In saying that DOMS can be prevented or minimised through good programming! Sometimes it's inevitable, so don't go storming into the next consult with your fists in the air.

Instead, chat to one of our Physios at Marna to ensure your programming is optimal to minimise DOMS and enhance recovery. Recover well by getting 7-9 hours of sleep, eat a well-balanced diet and keep moving!

Want to know more about how to best recover? Stay tuned for our next blog post!

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