Sunday, February 8, 2009
in answer to Marisa's great question....
I thought a post on Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, aka: DOMS, was appropriate.
WHAT IS IT? DOMS is a common condition that occurs 12-48 hours after exercising, usually lifting weights. This is a common occurrence when new program is implemented, new type of exercise is tried, or the intensity or duration of exercise is dramatically increased. The pain you're feeling is part of the muscle adaptation process that occurrs as your muscle stamina and strength grows.
Although any movement can cause soreness, eccentric muscle contractions seem to seem to cause the most soreness. Eccentric muscle contractions, are muscle contractions in which there is tension on the muscle while it's lengthening. (Think, the last 1/2 of a bicep curl when the weight is lowering and the muscle is lengthening.)
IS DOMS A BAD THING? The answer here, nope. Unfortunately, soreness is something that often accompanies exercise. I like to feel a little soreness every now and again because it's a sign to me that my body is changing, and THAT is part of the reason we're excercising in the first place, now isn't it? However, the more you exercise the less you'll feel the soreness. Aside from consistency in exercise, some other things you can do to keep the soreness to a minimum are; warm up for 3-5 minutes before, don't make too many drastic changes in your workout at once, gradually increase the weight you use over time, and cool down afterwards with some stretching.
SHOULD I STOP WORKING OUT IF MY MUSCLES ARE SORE? With my clients I've found that day 2 after the workout is usually where the most soreness occurs. This creates a problem for those of you who are on the every-other-day type lifting schedule. If your soreness is really severe, (we're talking painful to walk sore,) you may want to take a break from your lifting schedule, or avoid lifting those sore muscles. If the soreness is manageable I'd say continue with your routine. Be sure to warm up before you begin which should help to get those muscles moving. Lighten your weight if needed. Like I mentioned before, the amount of soreness should decrease with time. Ibuprophen also works wonders in decreasing inflammation and pain.
My best advice to you?? Stick to your routines! Fun as it may NOT be, I promise the soreness factor will decrease. And in the mean time, remember that it's your body telling you that something is changing. Change is good.