Everybody knows that feeling when you come back after the Christmas break feeling like you’ve eaten too much, and then have the motivation to commit to your New Year’s resolution of exercising more. So you go back to the gym for the first time in years, or run 5km, or get back into dancing. You go hard to get the most out of the session and you feel awesome! The next morning you wake up and everything hurts. You have this diffuse ache in all of the muscles you used the day before. Welcome to the onset of DOMS!
DOMS is a normal physiological response in the body after loading the body in a way it is not used to. No-one really knows why it happens, but what we do know is that it is not a ‘bad’ pain. It is quite safe to continue exercising even when you have DOMS. In fact, the current evidence shows that exercise is one of the best ways to get rid of DOMS quickly! Other strategies that might be useful are ice/ice baths, massage and gentle stretching.
So how do you know you have DOMS? It’s easy! You won’t experience any of the aches until 24-48 hours after the activity. It usually lasts for 2-3 days, with the peak of the aches at day 2. You will have a diffuse ache in all the muscles that you used, rather than a specific spot in one muscle.
There you have it! DOMS is not a pleasant sensation, but it is not something to be worried about or afraid of. It is a normal physiological response in the body and it is safe to continue exercising. The best thing to do is keep a continuous load of exercise in your life, that way you will be able to prevent DOMS happening in the first place! Let’s keep moving!!