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May 28, 2023
Sometimes just adding a few sets of lunges or a series of explosive exercises to a routine is enough to cause muscle tenderness. Author of the article: Postmedia may earn an affiliate commission from purchases made through our links on this page. Article content Advertisement 2 THIS CONTENT IS RESERVED FOR SUBSCRIBERS ONLY Subscribe now to read the latest news in your city and across Canada. Unlimited online access to articles from across Canada with one account. Get exclusive access to the Montreal Gazette ePaper, an electronic replica of the print edition that you can share, download and comment on. Enjoy insights and behind-the-scenes analysis from our award-winning journalists. Support local journalists and the next generation of journalists. Daily puzzles including the New York Times Crossword. SUBSCRIBE TO UNLOCK MORE ARTICLES Subscribe now to read the latest news in your city and across Canada. Unlimited online access to articles from across Canada with one account. Get exclusive access to the Montreal Gazette ePaper, an electronic replica of the print edition that you can share, download and comment on. Enjoy insights and behind-the-scenes analysis from our award-winning journalists. Support local journalists and the next generation of journalists. Daily puzzles including the New York Times Crossword. REGISTER TO UNLOCK MORE ARTICLES Create an account or sign in to continue with your reading experience. Access articles from across Canada with one account. Share your thoughts and join the conversation in the comments. Enjoy additional articles per month. Get email updates from your favourite authors. or Article content Try refreshing your browser, or Fitness: Are sore muscles an inevitable byproduct of a tough workout? Back to video First comes fatigue and discomfort in the working muscles, which thankfully abates when the workout is over. But that’s not the end of it. Eight or so hours later, delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS, sets in. For the next day or two, everyday activities like going up and down stairs and getting in and out of a chair are more difficult. Montreal Gazette Headline News Sign up to receive daily headline news from the Montreal Gazette, a division of Postmedia Network Inc. Email Address Sign Up By clicking on the sign up button you consent to receive the above newsletter from Postmedia Network Inc. You may unsubscribe any time by clicking on the unsubscribe link at the bottom of our emails or any newsletter. Postmedia Network Inc. | 365 Bloor Street East, Toronto, Ontario, M4W 3L4 | 416-383-2300 Thanks for signing up! A welcome email is on its way. If you don't see it, please check your junk folder. The next issue of Montreal Gazette Headline News will soon be in your inbox. We encountered an issue signing you up. Please try again Article content Why do some workouts result in DOMS while others have no lingering effects? No one has all the answers, but what we know is that DOMS is more likely to occur after a strenuous or new workout routine and that some exercises increase the risk of post-exercise discomfort. The exact physiology behind DOMS isn’t completely understood, but most exercise scientists agree that microscopic damage and the resulting inflammation to the working muscles is likely the culprit. Other than moderating the intensity of your workout or planning a more gradual introduction to a new exercise routine or sport, it’s unlikely that DOMS can be entirely avoided. Article content Article content Despite some gaps in the science behind the origins of DOMS, it’s clear that lactic acid isn’t to blame for any lingering or late-onset discomfort — though it’s often quoted as the root cause. Even though lactic acid increases during high intensity exercise, lab studies of individuals performing intense bouts of physical activity noted that lactate returned to pre-exercise levels within about an hour of the workout ending. And since DOMS sets in a day or so after a tough workout, it’s unlikely that lactate is responsible for any discomfort once the sweat dries. Thankfully, not all intense workouts will result in sore, achy muscles. But sometimes just adding a few sets of lunges or a series of explosive exercises to a well-established routine is enough to cause muscle tenderness a couple of days later. DOMS is also common when taking up a new activity or sport that uses different muscles or uses muscles in a different way. Advertisement 4 Article content Elite athletes are as prone to DOMS as exercise newbies. Pre-season training after a period of relative rest from competition can mean large and sudden changes in intensity, which increases the risk of DOMS even among the best athletes in the world. Once the damage is done, there’s little to do but let DOMS run its course. Massage and low intensity exercise like walking, cycling or yoga can temporarily relieve discomfort, but it’s more than likely to return once your workout is over. The level of discomfort varies based on personal pain tolerance, fitness level and the degree of stress the muscles were under during the workout. Most people experience tenderness to the touch and discomfort during movement, especially during the first few steps after being stationary. Others have visible swelling and a loss of strength to the affected muscles. Advertisement 5 Article content Let the degree of discomfort dictate your exercise routine and intensity until the DOMS symptoms wear off. And if there was ever a time for an extended warmup, a bout of DOMS is the perfect opportunity to put it into play. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) over-the-counter pain medication can help mask discomfort and should be used according to package directions. But the best way to tackle DOMS is to reduce the chances of getting it in the first place. When possible, ease into a new exercise routine and limit the number of repetitions of exercises known for causing DOMS, like lunges, running downhill, sprints and emphasizing the eccentric component of an exercise (lowering versus lifting a weight). And while there’s no evidence that increasing the length of the warmup or cool down can impact the degree of post-exercise discomfort, it’s never a bad idea to spend a little extra time easing your body in and out of a tough workout. Advertisement 6 Article content You’ll also want to be mindful of the cues your body is sending. The burning sensation in your working muscles that often accompanies a tough workout is a sign that you’re pushing your body outside its comfort zone. That may or may not be the goal of the workout, but it’s worth noting that the risk of experiencing DOMS increases as the intensity of your workout increases. Some people view DOMS as badge of honour, a sign they pushed their body beyond its capacity. But if post-workout muscle soreness diminishes your ability to exercise or reduces the enjoyment of your daily routine, you might want to take the intensity down a notch or two when your body starts to feel the discomfort related to extreme effort. Taking a few extra weeks to realize your exercise goals or adjust to a new sport, and reducing the number of repetitions of new or unfamiliar exercises are simple ways to avoid the discomfort of DOMS.
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