So you just did a nice long bout of exercise, whether you went for a nice long hike up through Blue Mountain, or tried a new sport; the first thing I have to say is, good for you! I’m happy to hear you’re out enjoying nature and doing some exercise while you’re at it! I hope you got to see some beautiful views! I even encourage you to send some of the pictures you got of you enjoying nature or trying something new to our Facebook page so we can use them in future blog posts! Anyways… Fast forward to the next day or two after these activities and for some reason you’re sore and even getting off the couch hurts. It didn’t hurt when you went to bed last night, whats the deal?
Well, in the exercise world we call this phenomenon ‘Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness’ also referred to as ‘DOMS’. DOMS occurs when we try to do just a bit too much, just a little too quickly. Although this makes you feel super sore and gives a new meaning to the phrase “I just don’t want to get up”, it also means your body is getting stronger – maybe just consider not pushing yourself quite as hard next time (ease into it slowly).
In order to understand what’s going on inside your body it’s important to understand the biological mechanics of a muscle fibre. For those of you who just want to know how to deal with the soreness, skip to the next paragraph! Beware while I geek out for those of you who want to know exactly what is going on inside your body. At the very deepest and smallest unit of a muscle you have two long strands that run parallel to each other. These two strands are known as filaments and each one has a specific name. The skinnier one is called actin and the thicker one is myosin (myosin also has many many small heads coming off which is important to know for whats coming next). These two things are what allow muscles to contract and relax (along with other chemicals which help this process occur). When we exercise we cause microscopic damage to our muscles, and that damage is to the heads of the myosin. This damage is what causes soreness for the next 2-5 days as they heal. I know this is somewhat of a benign concept but stay with me!
You’re probably thinking, okay so what?… just tell me what I can do to make it go away!
According to a study that compared 10 different recovery techniques ranging from massage, to using cold, to active recovery (and many others); applying cold helped with the inflammation when used right after exercise but the method that had the greatest impact on muscle soreness as well as the participants feeling of fatigue was a massage. Now I know that you probably don’t want to schedule a massage every time you exercise or workout so another option is to foam roll. Foam rolling can provide many benefits and can help with how much muscle soreness you feel after a workout or exercise. I encourage you to try it! Stay tuned later this week for an explanation of all the benefits of foam rolling and how to perform it safely and correctly!
Thanks for reading and I hope you’ll use this information for the next time you workout/exercise!
Written by Andrew Blakey, Owner of Your Future Fitness
Dupuy, O., Douzi, W., Theurot, D., Bosquet, L., & Dugué, B. (2018). An Evidence-Based Approach for Choosing Post-exercise Recovery Techniques to Reduce Markers of Muscle Damage, Soreness, Fatigue, and Inflammation: A Systematic Review With Meta-Analysis. Frontiers in Physiology, 9
Pearcey, Gregory & Bradbury-Squires, David & Kawamoto, Jon-Erik & Drinkwater, Eric & Behm, David & Button, Duane. (2014). Foam Rolling for Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness and Recovery of Dynamic Performance Measures. Journal of athletic training. 50. 10.4085/1062-6050-50.1.01.
Zainuddin, Z., Newton, M., Sacco, P., & Nosaka, K. (2005). Effects of Massage on Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness, Swelling, and Recovery of Muscle Function. Journal of Athletic Training, 40
(3). Retrieved May 30, 2018.
Andrew Blakey | Owner & Trainer | Your Future Fitness | 705 606 0374 | Facebook.com/YourFutureFitnessTraining