After an intense cardio workout or weight-training session, it’s common to feel exhaustion, muscle soreness and nausea. This feeling that you often wake up to the day after working out is called delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). DOMS is the result of new stress on muscle tissue that's not used to being exerted in a certain way. DOMS can affect anyone regardless of their fitness levels. Any new form of exercise that leads to muscles stiffness is simply a sign that your body is adapting to the new strain. Luckily, there are some preventative measures you can take to avoid it or at least reduce the intensity of delayed onset muscle soreness.
Some ways to prevent DOMS are:
Stretch. Warm up properly with a little cardio and dynamic stretching to prep your muscles and joints for your workout. Stretching before and after exercise is a big factor in preventing DOMS. Before your workout warm your muscles up before you stretch with a brisk walk or some jumping jacks so they don’t tear. After your workout, stretch and use a foam roller to massage out knots and increase blood flow to your muscles.
Take it slow. Build up to a new program slowly to allow your body to recover between sessions. Do a little, more often, so your body has a chance to adapt. And, aim to only increase your intensity or the duration of your exercise routine by about 10 per cent each week. By allowing your body to naturally progress you will decrease the likelihood of DOMS and you will see better results faster.
Drink more water. While you are working out, stay hydrated by drinking water every 15 minutes. Lots of people forget how important staying hydrated is. If you are sweating a lot, it's important to replace lost electrolytes with a sports drink or other electrolyte-rich foods, because these essential salts regulate heartbeats, muscular contractions and nerve function.
Get some rest. Work your body and give it everything you’ve got but don’t forget to give it time to recover when you’re finished destroying it. Maintaining your fitness also means taking the time to give yourself a break. Allow your muscles the time they need to recover. Enjoy a nice hot bath or shower and get a good 8 hours sleep.
Minor aches and pains are normal when you stress your muscles. Unfortunately there is no way to cure DOMS completely, however there are treatments to relieve soreness and accelerate your recovery.
Some things to try once the pain kicks in:
Apply ice to the area to decrease inflammation
Rest your muscles so they have time to heal before attempting the same routine again
Apply heat to increase blood flow to the affected area
Do an easy low-impact aerobic exercise to increase blood flow to the muscles
Massage and gently stretch the muscles