You know that moment. You wake up a few days after a workout and think to yourself, “Ah, now I feel it.” The technical term for this post-workout evidence of hard effort is delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMS.
DOMS happens when you work your muscles harder
than they are used to working.
That’s the simple explanation, but on a biological level, there’s a lot more going on. When we work our bodies harder than they are used to, the response is inflammation. The next natural step is an immune response. When our bodies can’t deal with exercise-induced muscle damage, we experience DOMS. While the exact mechanisms are not well understood, DOMS appears to be a product of inflammation caused by microscopic tears in the connective tissue elements that sensitize nociceptors and thereby heighten the sensations of pain.
Smart recovery can prevent DOMS from derailing your training.
- The best recovery foods to eat after an intense workout are raw, organic whole foods containing healthy amounts of carbs and protein
- Some of the specific foods shown to soothe muscle soreness include bananas, cacao, coffee, eggs, salmon, spinach, sweet potatoes, and watermelon, as well as spices like cinnamon, ginger, and turmeric
- Two substances you should avoid combining with exercise are alcohol and sugar, both of which cause inflammation