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.