You know that feeling, you’ve gone on an extended bike ride, or smashed out one too many burpees/lunges at the gym.
Delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMS is the pain and stiffness felt in muscles several hours to days after strenuous exercise. The soreness is usually at its worse 24 to 72 hours after the workout.
While delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is not fully understood, the consensus is that it is an inflammatory response caused by microscopic tears in your muscle fibres that occur during exercise.
DOMS aren’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s our natural way of telling us we need to take it easy and recover. They are also part of the adaptation process, they highlight that the intensity has raised for that particular workout, or you managed to push a muscle set that is usually not as engaged.
For athletes and gym-goers as muscles get familiar with specific stress, they quickly adapt and react much less sharply, which might be why DOMS are at their worst when you haven’t exercised in a while.
So if you don’t want to be hobbling around the office, or if you want to ensure you are in good enough shape to train/exercise again after a hard work out, then there are a couple of research-proven strategies to reduce the effects of DOMS.
Of course, the first course of action is to consume anthocyanin-rich Blackcurrants as they are one of the best ways to reduce DOMS. Anthocyanins are known to improve blood flow, and research has shown that consuming New Zealand blackcurrants can speed up tissue repair and recovery. Blackcurrants are also renowned for their Anti-Inflammatory properties.
Whether it’s powdered or sourced from whole foods, protein is a nutrient that is essential for the growth, maintenance and repair of muscles and body tissue. It's the Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) in protein that improve the muscle recovery and encourage growth, so make sure if you are using powder, that it has the following amino acids profile (isoleucine, leucine, and valine).
Between 20-40 grams of protein within 60mins of a workout will help repair the muscle fibres, reduce DOMS and improve recovery time.
There is a reason why you usually see high profile sportspeople getting a post-exercise massage after a big game. A massage can significantly reduce pain. Studies have shown that massaged muscles contain more blood vessels which result in improved recovery.
It would be great if we all had a personal masseuse, but a foam roller can be equally as effective at relieving the tension in the muscle’s connective tissue. There are lots of videos on youtube to show you how to use a foam roller to massage your muscles and help reduce delayed onset muscle soreness.
Possibly the lest enjoyable of the options, however, the fact is that having cold/freezing bath works. The science suggests the cold bath process constricts the blood vessels and forces the blood to move on to other parts of the body; it’s this flushing process that speeds up the recovery process.
Alternatively a contrasting shower (Hot & Cold) can be equally as effective.
A light workout or warm down post-exercise immediately following a strenuous exercise will increase the blood flow, which will help the inflammatory process.
The aim is to keep exercising at a lower intensity to keep the blood flowing and slowly bring yourself to a rested state. This Active Recovery process reduces the buildup of lactic acid in the muscles, minimising post-exercise stiffness and discomfort.
So with those tips, how about you get out there and go for an intense run, bike or swim.
An excellent article by Oxygen Magazine, they are a female-focused nutrition, fitness and wellness website.
In their latest article they provide some insight into the benefits of eating a colourful diet that includes those compounds that provide all the all-important health benefits.
Are you aware of the vital role that anthocyanins play in reducing inflammation and improving circulation?