Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness

Have you ever started a new fitness routine only to give up shortly due to pain a day or so later? One of the leading causes of relapsing on a new fitness routine is the muscular pain we feel post-workout.

You know what I’m talking about: the pain and stiffness in your muscles and joints, the swelling limbs that can sometimes feel tender to the touch. For someone new to exercise this sensation can be scary.

I’m here to tell you that this is a normal sensation.

What you’re experiencing is a condition called “delayed onset muscle soreness,” or DOMS for short. The good news is you’re not alone. Everyone who begins a new fitness routine will experience these sensations as the muscles wake up from dormancy. Couch potatoes and Olympians alike will experience it in varying degrees of severity. The good news? This the intensity will pass , and you may even find yourself loving this feeling as your body becomes stronger.

Let’s look at what is happening.

As the muscles are challenged, microscopic damage occurs within the muscle fibres. This is normal. Just one round of rigorous exercise leaving you sore and achy creates a protective healing effect, reducing soreness in similar activities in the months ahead. What you’re feeling is a side-effect of this repair process.

Think of it as your alarm going off in the morning, but for your body. Nobody really likes waking up and crawling out of bed, but once you get going it’s not so bad. Am I right?

Really, the only way to overcome DOMS in the long term is to keep going. If you’re finding it too much, ease up. Progress a little more slowly. Just don’t stop. Supplement your new routine with ice packs to the affected area(s) and increase your water intake. Take hot baths after your workout.

Receive Massage Therapy treatments to ease the tension in your achy muscles. This will improve circulation, and will provide vital nourishment to the body, which will ease the pain.

It’s important to note when you should back off completely. Although the burn and ache felt in your muscles is normal, acute pain is not. This is your body telling you larger-scale damage may be occurring.

If you feel acute, or sudden and acute pain, stop what you are doing and discuss your sensation with your trainer. They want you to succeed as much as you do, and will happily modify your exercise to ensure your success.

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Surviving Transitions

Change.
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It’s exciting, it’s terrifying, and it’s inevitable. We will all face many changes throughout the course of our lives.
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It’s easy to feel weighed down when going through stressful transitions. Our to-do lists continually grow despite our best efforts to cross each item off, and our bodies have less recovery time from the constant focus and movement.
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What tends to happen is that we become scattered and the quality of our sleep deteriorates. Our posture is compromised as gravity slowly but surely wins the battle against our fatigued body. Consequently, we experience headaches and back pain. And so the vicious cycle has begun.
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Whatever you do now, don’t give up. There are some simple steps each of us can take so we can cope and thrive. Remember what lies at the end of that tunnel?
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1. Refocus your breath. Take 3-5 mins at least at the start of each day to connect to your breath. Fill your lungs entirely and exhale the stale air. When your mind wanders, simply refocus your breath.
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2. Drink more water. Seriously. When we are dehydrated our bodies do not function properly. So keep that bottle close by at all times. If you’re frustrated with the frequent trips to the bathroom, keep in mind that great ideas are born atop the porcelain throne.
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3. Get regular bodywork such as Massage Therapy, Chiropractic Care, or Physiotherapy. Not only will you be able to correct postural imbalances before they become chronic problems, your entire body will benefit from the increased blood flow and the release of the happy hormones, all while decreasing stress levels. Win-win.
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4. Exercise for at LEAST 20min/day. Hiking, yoga, the gym, any sort of physical activity will be beneficial to your overall well-being.
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5. Talk to your Naturopath or Nutritionist to discuss simple dietary changes and supplements to support your system in combating the elevated stress levels. Food plays an incredibly important role in how our body functions and processes these stresses. Eat this good food and graze frequently throughout the day. Fuel for your body and brain. ‘Nuff said.
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6. Write out your to-do list. Carry it everywhere and be religious about updating it. Give your brain a break.
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7. Have a good support network. Thoughts given voice will provide great clarity. And there ain’t nothing like a good old fashioned whine/bitch fest.
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8. Practice gratitude. Take a moment to notice what you have going on. I’d bet there’s more than you’re aware of. It’s so easy to get bogged down with what’s not working. Take time to recognize what is.
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I am no stranger to elevated stress and major change, and in all honesty, I fall apart when I don’t take my own advice. We will never escape change, but these are some of the ways we can ease the transition.
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