Some of you may know what I’m talking about and others may not; however, the DOMS are also known as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. Research suggests that this painful soreness peaks between 48-72 hours post whatever you did to exert yourself and this. is. real.
If you’ve ever worked out really hard, or engaged in activity you’re not used to you – you’ve felt the DOMS. Maybe you could barely sit down (or stand up) when going to the toilet because your legs were so sore. Perhaps you felt like your back was just so strained that it hurt to even turn your torso. Your shoulders and arms, they hurt to just raise up to brush your hair, or extend the arm fully at the elbow.
- You’re not alone & totally normal. This happens to likely every person at some point in their life AND it can happen even when you’re “super fit” and muscular/lean. For this example I will use myself. I am not super fit, lol, but I do regularly exercise and not feel so sore. This past week, my favorite “group exercise” boxing gym re-opened, so I eagerly signed up for a class and went after it. During the class it was ROUGH and I was breathing hard, sweating profusely and thought I might lose my lunch a time or two, but it felt so good! Fast forward 24 hours, and then 48 hours. SO SORE I can barely walk. I have been doing jogging and Peloton biking, along with some light weights and body weight workouts while in quarantine – but NOTHING like the High Intensity workout I did at the gym, which I haven’t done that style of workout in like 6 months or more! There are large, and small, muscles, fibers, tendons, etc are all engaging after likely not being used (to that extreme) in so long that I forgot they even existed!
- Recovery is key. Go easy on yourself and recover, let your body heal. It’s screaming in pain because you tore those muscles UP in that session, and the agony you’re dealing with is proof that your body needs hydration, rest, (nutritious) fuel, and some good old TLC. When you exert yourself, your body during the workout and recovery will release lots of toxins, and also create things in response, so hydration is very important, to keep things flowing in your tummy, your blood, muscles and cells.
- Move. Please note that recovery does not equal lethargy. Your muscles need (light) activity to get the blood flowing and help speed up the repair process, so as painful as it feels, try and walk, light bike ride, or something to move the muscles and help warm them up (slowly) to their typical homeostasis.
- When you think “ouch I am so sore” try and replace that thought with “I am so grateful that I am able to move” or “I am so glad to be reminded of how far I have come” because our healing also is encouraged by our mind. We can moan and cry about things, but the narrative we’re telling ourselves (and our bodies) should be one of appreciation, gratitude and love. We should be happy to feel things when other people can’t. We need to remember to be grateful for our mobility and capabilities, as there are others who don’t have that. We can remember how far we’ve come – such as in my case – where I remember when I used to go to the boxing classes every day almost and didn’t feel so sore; and we can remember where we want to be, because this sore feeling shows we are activating muscles and gaining strength.
Lastly, please don’t confuse PAIN with gains. I do not encourage people to consistently attribute their soreness with JUST having a good workout. Pain needs to be scrutinized and understood if it’s from a place of typical and general soreness in relation to your state of health/fitness, OR if you’ve actually strained/injured yourself. If something HURTS in the moment, stop the movement and evaluate. With that – enjoy your workouts, as many places are opening back up, and remember to be kind to your body in return for all the wonderful things it does for you every day.