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Muscle Soreness - why does it happen?

Post COVID body have you hitting the gym? Getting bike on the bike, playing sports or riding your new Christmas Pelaton?

After these intense workouts, do you find your muscles inevitably sore the following day? Tender tendons can be a difficult barrier to overcome.

What exactly is muscle soreness? And why does it happen?

Some discomfort after a workout can be expects, but if you find it to be debilitating it may deter you from exercising consistently. The tenderness is often referred to as DOMS or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness and it is a result from mechanical distruption of the muscle fibers. Essentially, when you work out, you are micro tearing your muscles. The damage causes swelling and inflammation which then releases substance that sensitives the nerves within the muscle that was contracted or stretched more than normal.

This pain usually peaks 24-72 hours after exercise. The type of exercise that causes the most muscle soreness is “eccentric” exercise, which is where force is generated by the muscle as it lengthens — think about walking downhill or the lowering phase of a bicep curl.

There is good news about this pain....

When the muscle cells recover from the "micro trauma" it comes back stronger, able to produce that force again without the same damage occurring!

Road to Recovery

One of the best ways to recover after micro trauma to your muscles is sleep. A majority of our muscle repair and recovery takes place as we sleep. Allowing your body to get a full 8 hours of sleep and aiming to keep a regulated sleep schedule can work wonders.

When it comes to nutrition, it's important to remember the three R’s:

  • refuel (replacing carbohydrates after exercise)

  • rebuild (protein intake will aid in the muscle repair and rebuilding)

  • rehydrate (keep your fluid intake up, especially in these summer months!).

Enjoy the recovery process. Take your time to bounce back. Always remember slow and steady wins the race.

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