During a workout we push or pull weights, feel sore, stop, and after a minute do it all over again. The pain you experience during the exercise is called Acute Muscle Soreness and is often used by people to gauge workout effort. On the other hand, Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness or DOMS is what you may feel 24 to 48 hours after the workout.
Studies have shown that the eccentric contraction (or elongation) of the muscle is more likely to contribute to this pain over the opposing concentric contraction. If you can imagine a biceps curl, as the weight is lowered to the ground micro tears are created in the muscle. It is with these tears that the muscle rebuilds itself and continues its growth. There are several main culprits of DOMS, however. They include:
- Micro tears signaling pain receptors that communicate with the brain;
- Calcium and white blood cells released into the muscle causing inflammation; and
- Lactic acid, a normal byproduct of muscle metabolism
While there is a long list of products that may help relieve this soreness, the most beneficial tools in addition to staying well-hydrated are:
- Sleep to allow your body time to repair itself;
- Slow progression of weight increases to not overly traumatize the muscle; and
- Foam rolling or massage within hours after the workout is finished, as well as subsequent days to move fluid and toxins from the muscle
So instead of suffering through soreness after a workout, move around to get the blood flowing and try the foam roller or a massage with a good night’s sleep.
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