After a heavy workout – especially if you haven’t worked out that muscle in a while – the next day can be a killer when you get the ‘DOMs’ – delayed muscle soreness.
It is that muscle pain, stiffness and soreness that happens 24-48hrs after working out. Luckily it happens mostly only when you start working out a new muscle group (or, quite often, when deciding to follow a certain workout program – as this will often change the way you work out).
Anyone who has felt it knows exactly what it is. So how should you prevent it?
Make sure you warm up – and warm down
Warming up has multiple benefits (mostly to prevent injury), and should be done before every workout. But a lot of people just don’t do warm ups.
Another important thing to do is warm downs – at the end of working out.
These help keep your body healthy and help maintain a stress feel muscle set!
Have a cold shower/bath
Surprisingly this has been shown to prevent DOMs – having a cold shower or bath after working out.
According to research, ice baths can be helpful — at least in comparison to doing nothing. In a new report in The Cochrane Library, researchers at the University of Ulster in Ireland pooled data from 17 studies involving 366 people, many of whom sat in ice baths for several minutes after cycling, running or lifting weights. Compared with passive rest after exercise, a short bout of cold therapy reduced soreness by 20 percent, the researchers found.
“There was some evidence that cold-water immersion reduces muscle soreness at 24, 48, 72 and even at 96 hours after exercise compared with ‘passive’ treatment,” the researchers wrote.
But they noted a caveat: There has been little study of cold therapy versus active treatments, like compression sleeves or ibuprofen. There are also side effects. Immersion in ice-cold water can cause shock and increase heart rate. The researchers also noted that the long-term safety of regular ice baths has not been studied well.
Eat after working out
A good protein and carb snack after working out is beneficial. It is important to get a boost of carbs (as well as protein) after working out.
This is a method that athletes have been using for years (with lots of views on whether it works or is just placebo). But you should do it anyway just to give your body the nutrients it needs!
Don’t forget about getting a massage!
These do help with DOMs – and they feel great. Sort of! If you have a really bad case of DOMs we aren’t sure if you will actually enjoy it while it is being done – but afterwards you’ll feel great.
And if it is really bad…
You can always take a pain killer!