Relieving Muscle Pain After Exercise

Lucy Miller

by Lucy Miller

A Fitness and Nutrition Expert

Have you ever done a good workout and the next day rolled out and bed and thought – great! I don’t ache, only to find that the day after you can’t move. Yes I thought so. Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) usually comes on 24-48 hours after an intense workout and is primarily caused by the bodies inflammatory response. 

When you hit the gym and do resistance work like weights or circuit training, you’ll basically tear and create a micro traumas in the muscles. Don’t panic though, this is good because when the muscle recovers, it's going to recover stronger and denser than it was before.

The key is to make sure that what you're suffering from is DOMS and not an injury.  But how can you tell? The best way is to ask yourself if the pain is bilateral? Having one very sore shoulder after you've worked both shoulders could spell injury.

So apart from making you stronger and leaner, the other good thing about DOMS is that it shouldn’t stop you from working out. DOMS will usually ease off once you start moving again and if it doesn’t then you can just use that workout to concentrate on other body parts. So if you have DOMS in your lower body for example, you can work your arms and shoulders instead and then move back to your legs and bottom in a few days.

Warm up stretch
To avoid feeling the pain of DOMS always increase your resistance gradually so that your muscles adapt to your new workout plan and always warm up and cool down properly with an active warm up and cool down stretches. You should also cool down with some gentle cardio which increases blood flow and acts as a filter system by bringing nutrients like oxygen, protein, and iron to the muscles that you've been training which helps them to recover faster.


Lucy Miller

Lucy Miller is a fitness and nutrition advisor (www.lucymiller.me.uk), and Fitness Editor at Health & Fitness Magazine. She holds fitness qualifications from NASM Training and Premier Training International.
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