26 Oct Should we be sore after training?
Should we be sore after we train?
When we workout, our muscles are continually contracting (shortening) and extending (lengthening). This is necessary to help us to move, to lift weights, to jump and bend our bodies. However, when a muscle is lengthened a little more than it’s used to — for example, during a long workout or hike — then it can experience small tears (called micro tears). This can then present as a dull, achy pain or even stiffness in your muscles 12-72 hours later.
The technical term for this is Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, also known as DOMS. If you’re not sure what I mean, let me explain it this way: have you ever done a tough leg workout and then gone to the bathroom the next day and not been able to sit on the toilet (or get back up once you do)? DOMS is caused by myofibril tears (muscle strains). The microtrauma results in an inflammatory response with intramuscular fluid and electrolyte shifts. Swelling, altered muscle firing patterns and pain is thought to be the reason why muscle strength, motions and function is impaired in DOMS sufferers.
If you’ve ever done a gruelling workout after you’ve had some time off from exercise, chances are you were feeling a bit sore and sorry for yourself a few days after.
This is your body’s way of letting you know you’ve done something it’s not used to.
Although sitting on the couch until it goes away is appealing, the best way to overcome DOMS is with light exercise.
“A gentle walk or swim — with less intensity than what caused the DOMS — will reduce the pain and speed up the recovery process.
To minimise the development of DOMS the following suggestions need to be followed:
Take it slow and gradually build up the amount of exercise you do in your program – remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Only increase your sets, reps and weights by more than 10% per week.
Be aware of the amount of eccentric exercise you are including in your workouts.
Ensure you do a thorough cool down following your workout – many of us would have seen sportspeople doing gentle running and cool down drills after their games – this is one of the reasons why.
Looking after our nutrition, hydration and sleep patterns will help to lessen the severity of these conditions. Making sure we have a balanced meal with a source of protein, a variety of coloured vegetables or salad at meals and healthy fats such as avocado, olives, seeds and nuts to name a few will help in keeping our bodies running at an optimal level.