How to Avoid DOMS After Returning to the Gym
As Covid-19 restrictions relax with the introduction of the vaccine, more gyms are back in business. It’s exciting to be returning to your workouts, but don’t just go entering the gym and picking up the heaviest weight you can. Your body will be aching and cursing you on the days following your initial gym session. This soreness is referred to as DOMS, which stands for Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. Learn how to avoid DOMS after returning to the gym.
What is DOMS?
DOMS is caused by tearing your muscle fibres at a microscopic level, leading to soreness or stiffness in your muscles. DOMS usually occurs after a hiatus from the gym and can affect anyone, even elite athletes. It can affect your life outside the gym and your enthusiasm to keep working for the following days.
The initial pain of DOMS typically lasts about 24-48 hours following a workout, with the effects of it being felt for 3-5 days following your training.
The pain of DOMS is exacerbated by the amount of tearing that occurs in your muscles. This means that the amount of weight and volume of your initial workout determines how severe the effects of DOMS are. If you want to be functional outside the gym and not be in pain all day long, then it would be wise to start very lightly.
Push your ego aside and your body will thank you later. Expect a slight amount of DOMS after your first workout, though the pain should be manageable enough for you to perform your daily tasks while keeping your enthusiasm to hit the gym alive.
Minimize chances of DOMS from occurring by staying hydrated, and aiming for a minimum of 1/3 of your body weight in fluid on training days.
How to Deal with DOMS
DOMS symptoms can be treated through stretching the affected muscles, ice packs, and ample rest. You can find comfort in the fact that DOMS is temporary and should go away as you keep working out regularly.
DOMS isn’t an excuse to skip a workout. In fact, the only way to get rid of DOMS is to workout, gradually building up your intensity. On the days following your initial workout, target different muscles so that the affected muscle groups have time to recover.
In most cases, DOMS does not require any medical intervention. However, if you find yourself experiencing severe swelling or in unbearable pain, consult a doctor
We are all excited for gyms to reopen, but don’t let your excitement lead you into doing things you may regret. Start light on the weights and gradually build towards your original intensity preceding your hiatus.
If you experience hindering pain after a workout, consider applying ice or a cold pack to the affected area. Alternatively, you can try performing stretching exercises that target the affected muscles.