Blog » Health and Wellbeing » Top 5 tips for preventing DOMS

Top 5 tips for preventing DOMS

Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is a feeling that I’m sure we have all had at one time or another. It’s the feeling of muscle pain, soreness or stiffness, which occurs in the day or two after exercise. The soreness most commonly occurs if you start a new exercise regime, change your current routine or if you dramatically increase your workout time or intensity. Although the pain can be startling for new exercisers, DOMS is perceived as a normal, and somewhat, expected response to unusual or vigorous exercise. So when delayed onset muscle soreness happens, what is the best thing to do? And how best do we prevent it? I spoke to Dean Saunders who is a personal trainer at Goodbodies gym in Whitehaven to find out. Dean has been a trainer for the last 6 years and has a variety of tips to help prevent muscle soreness. He says “Although you may not be able to prevent or eradicate muscle soreness entirely, you may be able to minimise the intensity and duration. There are a lot of preventative tips that will improve the problem.” Dean’s Top 5 Tips for preventing DOMS 1. Start Slowly Gradually introduce your body to a new exercise routine and work yourself up to a high-intensity program. 2. Warm up and cool down This may sound obvious, and it will be something you will have heard since PE lessons in primary school, but warming up before and cooling down after exercise is very important in reducing the effect of DOMS 3. Hire a trainer Ok, so this is not for everyone, especially if budgets are tight, but if you are new to exercise a good trainer will monitor your body’s response to exercise and ensure you are not overworking your muscles at the start of your regime. 4. Avoid sudden changes in intesity Even if you are an experienced athlete, try to avoid a sudden jump in intensity to your workout. It is important to gradually build the intensity on a weekly basis. 5. Rest and recover Rest days are just as important as any other training day. To maximise your recovery during rest periods you could have a sports massage, take an ice bath, or do stretching and yoga. Dean talks us through his tips, “The top preventative tip would be to start slowly. You should gradually introduce or increase your exercise routine. Don’t run before you can walk. Again, this may sound obvious, but warm up thoroughly before partaking in exercise. The cool down afterwards is just as important, so do not skip this part of your routine. If you are unsure of how to start your new exercise regime safely, hire a personal trainer to help you get started. Your trainer will monitor your progress and help you build up your routine gradually and safely. If you’d rather go it alone, I would advise against sudden changes in intensity, duration and sudden changes to your exercise programme.  It’s crucial that you gradually build the intensity on a weekly basis. Don’t overdo it at the start or you body will be over exerted and in pain.” If you do suffer with DOMS, either intensely or mildly, it can be really painful. There are things that you can do to ease the pain, which Dean explains. “I’ve worked with a variety of people, with a diverse range of abilities and have often come across the question, how do I ease the affects of DOMS? My answer is that there are a variety of ways that include rest and recover, a sports massage, gentle stretching and yoga. One tip I give to everybody that I train, is to listen to your body. Allow the soreness to subside before participating in any vigorous activity. The soreness should vanish in 3 to 7 days without any special treatment. Rest and recovery is a simple component to overcome the dreaded ache. An ice bath is something else you can try. A lot of high profile athletes and sports teams use this method as they claim it reduces muscle swelling and soreness. This is worth a try, if you are brave enough. A low-dose, over-the-counter painkiller such as Ibuprofen should help decrease the muscle soreness. But if you don’t want to put yourself through an ice bath, a sports massage or a yoga class, I strongly advise you to take on the prevention tips I mentioned. Everyone is different, so it’s best to experiment until you find one that works for you.  As they say, prevention is better than the cure.” I hope some of Dean’s tips come in helpful and ease your DOMS dilemmas. Leave us a comment to share your tips and help others ease the pain.