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Coping With Sore Muscles After Physical Activity

21st November 2013

“flickr: rrrtem”

img: Tilemahos Efthimiadis

Here’s a question for you: a couple of days after a great workout, when your body is so sore you resort to drinking coffee from a straw because you can’t even lift your mug, what is your body trying to tell you?

A) Great workout! I’m feeling stronger already. Let’s do that again!
B) I hurt. Let’s lie in bed all day and eat chocolate while we watch reality television.

Read this for a hint: Coping With Sore Muscles After Physical Activity.

Think you know?

The answer is: A.

Did you get it right? Think we’re pulling your leg? Here’s the deal:

The first 24 hours after your workout, you might be a little sore. This is a good time to rest the muscles you focused on during your workout. You can still exercise–but if you worked on your arms, chest, and back yesterday, today would be a good day to work your lower body.

24 to 48 hours after your workout is when the real pain sets in. This is Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, or DOMS.

From the article:

“Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is a common result of physical activity that stresses the muscle tissue beyond what it is accustomed to,” says David O. Draper, professor and director of the graduate program in sports medicine/athletic training at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.

Athletic trainers, fitness professionals, and other people in the know all agree: DOMS hurts, but it’s a sign from your body that the tears you’ve caused in your muscles are repairing themselves. That means bigger muscles–and more strength!–for you. So embrace your DOMS…or, at least, understand that it’s not a bad thing.

The kind-of-bad news is that, unlike the first 24 hours when you should rest sore muscle groups, by the time DOMS sets in, it’s time to work out again! If the idea of working out through the soreness is enough to make you throw your exercise plans out the window, here are some ways to reduce the effects of DOMS. They mainly focus on improving circulation, which helps muscle heal more efficiently:

  1. Warm up before exercise
  2. Cool down and stretch after exercise
  3. Go for a massage
  4. Keep moving–don’t sit on the couch
  5. Maintain a healthy diet full of colorful fruits and vegetables
  6. Stay hydrated

Don’t forget, you can use a whole body vibration machine for a quick and effective warm up, cool down, work out, and massage.

Like the article? Learn anything new? Let us know in the comments!

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