5 ways to prevent sore muscles this spring
Thursday, October 2016
Don’t let muscle pain slow you down, here’s how to shelve the soreness.
Everyone from weekend warriors to seasoned professional athletes can suffer from sore muscles – otherwise known as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMs). But is muscle soreness something to worry about?
Michelle Fletcher, Step into Life personal trainer from Albury, NSW says not if you’re aware of the difference between sore muscles and injury.
To explain, DOMs can strike any part of your body between eight and 72 hours post-workout, but the muscle pain usually peaks at the 48-hour mark.
Michelle says sore muscles are a result of exposure to unfamiliar or intense physical exercise, which is outside of your normal range of effort. It can persist for one or two weeks until your body adjusts to the new exercise habits.
“DOMs is when muscles become inflamed, also referred to as muscle fever, which is the aching, cramping, stiff and sore feeling we experience,” she explains.
“It’s like exercise-induce muscle damage or microtrauma to the muscles. But remember, muscles adapt quickly to prevent ongoing soreness when the exercise is repeated and this is how exercise habits or routines are formed. So, although muscle fibres tear, they repair themselves in a day or two and are stronger than before.”
PREVENTING MUSCLE PAIN
The key to minimsing muscle soreness – especially when embarking on a new exercise program, or returning to training after a lay off – is to increase your intensity gradually.
Plus, whether your fitness goal is to lose weight, train for a fun run or simply enjoy the benefits of being fit and healthy, the best results are achieved when you exercise at a level that is ‘uncomfortable’, explains Michelle. “This is when you achieve the desired training effect, giving your body a reason to change.”
However, training to the point of muscle strain or injury must be avoided. If you feel yourself overstretching, fatiguing or overusing a particular muscle, listen to your body and ease up.
If you do suspect that you have a serious case of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness visit your doctor or sports physician to ensure no major damage has been done.
5 POST-WORKOUT STEPS TO REDUCE MUSCLE SORENESS
The best way to know if you’re well hydrated is the colour of your urine. It should be clear. Being well hydrated helps your body flush out toxins and reduce the duration and intensity of muscle soreness post-exercise.
Having nutrient rich foods will help your muscles repair. Remember, fresh is best. Try to avoid processed, high fat and high salt foods. Remember to find out if you’re getting enough protein.
3.Sleep and get quality rest
The body repairs itself during sleep so it’s important you allow for rest days or lower intensity activities between more demanding workouts to help your body heal sore muscles.
4.Increase workout intensity gradually
“Allow the body the opportunity to become familiar with exercising before increasing intensity,” says Michelle. “This will help with preventing prolonged muscle soreness.” Try starting with shorter sessions at a lower intensity and gradually build up to more intense and longer duration workouts.
Massage can help reduce muscle tightness and promote relaxation and reduced tension of the muscles. “Any treatment that encourages increased blood flow to the muscle will provide some relief and may also combat the extent of muscle soreness,” concludes Michelle.