If you’ve ever exercised, you’ve probably already met our old friend DOMS. DOMS stands for Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness and is the biting painful feeling of soreness of over-worked muscles. It usually happens when you begin a new program of exercise, or charge up your current exercise routine and start working new muscles, or the same muscles in new ways.
DOMS is not caused by lactic acid as many people wrongly believe. It’s caused by the tiny damage that exercise makes to microscopic muscle fibers. Anyone can experience DOMS, even people who’ve been exercising for years. This type of muscle soreness or stiffness only lasts for 3-5 days, but it’s uncomfortable to experience, and so lots of people are interested in reducing its effects.
Although it’s impossible to completely escape this type of muscle soreness if you’re tearing those tiny muscle fibers, it is possible to reduce the effects of post-exercise muscle soreness:
The Foam Roller: It can feel like unbearable torture to some, but many people use cylindrical form rollers to reduce the impact of muscle soreness. Using body weight exercises, you can use a foam cylinder to roll out the tightness of the muscles and the tissue that connects them.
Go Hot and Cold: Increasing blood flow reduces the effects of DOMS. So, experts advise that you switch between hot and cold showers to improve blood flow to the affected muscles. By switching from the dilation to constriction of the blood vessels in the area of soreness, the DOMS will be reduced to 1 or 2 days.
Eat Berries: By eating or drinking (in the form of a smoothie) blueberries, you can really reduce the pain and damage caused by DOMS. Blueberries contain anthocyanin which encourages the flow of oxygen to your muscles. You have to eat an awful lot of blueberries to benefit, but it may be worth it to reduce that old familiar pain.
Eat Cherries: Just like with the blueberries, by eating cherries, or drinking natural cherry juice, you can increase how much oxygen makes it to the muscles in pain. This will reduce the pain you experience and speed up recovery.
Munch on Melon: If you don’t like cherries or blueberries, then watermelon might be able to help you reduce the pain of muscle soreness. Watermelons are absolutely packed with the antioxidants and vitamins which reduce the pain of DOMS when it’s eaten before exercise. It won’t fill you up too much and it has significantly less fructose than other fruit.
Perform More Exercise: Believe it or not, one of the most effective ways to lessen the effects of muscle soreness on your body is to do more exercise. The increased blood and oxygen flow created by exercise are precisely what ailing muscles need to speed up their recovery.
Massage Myth: This is the most contentious of all the potential solutions to painful muscle soreness after exercising. Since Greek and Roman times, athletes have been enjoying a post-exercise massage to reduce the levels of DOMS they experienced after sporting performance. But n no one really knew whether it really helped or not. However, recent scientific testing found that although massage didn’t improve muscle function on muscles that were damaged through exercise; it did affect overall soreness and swelling were reduced by up to 30% – which reduced the time that people were suffering.