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Delayed onset muscle soreness - What is DOMS and can you train with it?

Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is the pain and soreness that can be felt in muscles after physical exercise or unfamiliar movements. The pain is caused by small tears in muscle tissue and inflammation that occurs during exercise. As muscles recover and adapt to the new load, they become stronger and more resilient.

Here you will learn more about delayed onset muscle soreness and we will give you some smart tips on how to relieve DOMS.

Why do you get delayed onset muscle soreness?

DOMS occurs as a result of microscopic damage to muscle tissue and the surrounding connective tissue during physical exercise. When you perform an activity that you are not used to or when you increase the intensity or duration of your workout, your muscles are subjected to stress and strain. This leads to small tears in muscle fibers and an inflammatory response, which is normal.

The body repairs and builds stronger muscles in response to the physical stress, which leads to increased strength and endurance over time.

Can you work out with DOMS?

Yes, it is generally safe to exercise with delayed onset muscle soreness. It is common to experience some muscle soreness after a new or intense workout, and as long as the pain is not severe, you can continue to exercise despite the soreness. A good idea is to focus on other muscle groups than the ones you are sore in.

Here are some good guidelines for exercising with DOMS:

  • Lighter workouts: If the muscle soreness is mild to moderate, you can continue to exercise, but it may be wise to reduce the intensity and avoid excessive strain on the affected muscles. Lighter workouts, such as low-intensity aerobic exercise or light strength training, can be beneficial.

  • Active recovery: Light exercise can help to increase blood circulation and promote faster recovery. Stretching and light exercises can also help to reduce stiffness in the body. Why not try a yoga class?

  • Listen to your body: If the muscle soreness is very intense or if you are experiencing pain that feels different from muscle soreness, it may be best to give your body extra time to recover and avoid strenuous exercise until the pain subsides.

  • Remember to drink water and warm up and cool down: Drink plenty of water and make sure to get your blood flowing with a good warm-up and to cool down and stretch after your workouts.

  • Consult with a trainer or doctor: If the muscle soreness does not subside or if you are unsure whether you should exercise, it may be wise to consult with a trainer or doctor to see if it is an injury.

How to relieve and get rid of delayed onset muscle soreness

To relieve muscle soreness, you can use methods such as rest, lighter exercise, stretching, massage, and consider using heat or cold on the affected areas.

DOMS is usually harmless and part of the adaptation process. However, if you experience intense or prolonged pain, you should consult a doctor to rule out any injuries.

5 tips to get rid of DOMS:

- Light exercise, such as walking or swimming, can increase blood circulation and help relieve muscle soreness. It can also promote faster recovery by reducing stiffness in the muscles.

- Stretch gently the affected muscles to increase flexibility and reduce muscle tension.

- Food and drink. Make sure you get enough protein and other nutrients that support muscle repair and recovery. Don't forget to drink plenty of water either.

- Sleep is an important factor for recovery. Make sure you get enough sleep, especially after intense workouts.

- Rest. Give your body enough time to recover by planning in rest days between intense workouts.

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