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Sorting Out Muscle Soreness

By Joni Hyde of

Any woman who has ever exercised has had the experience of waking up feeling a little sore at one time or another. Then you quickly recall the new moves you did yesterday - those new squats and killer tricep dips.

Sore muscles after your first workout or a new workout are very normal. You've just experienced DOMS or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. This type of soreness generally occurs 24 to 48 hours after a new activity and typically lasts about 24 to 48 hours.

So what can you do to prevent DOMS? Not much unfortunately. But you can prevent exaggerated symptoms and ease existing symptoms by following a few guidelines.

Start Easy And Progress Slowly And Consistently
The greatest instance of DOMS happens in untrained people. Gradually increase exercise intensity over 5 or 6 exercise sessions so the untrained muscles can progressively adapt, which will reduce the severity of muscle soreness. Try not to miss any scheduled workouts, even if you are just starting out. However, you should make an exception and rest a few days if the symptoms are severe--for example, if you can't sit comfortably or walk up stairs.

Warm Up Before You Exercise
Prepare yourself for your workout by moving a little to get the blood flowing. The first exercise in your Workout Circuit will accomplish this for you. Also, consider doing your cardio workout before your Workout Circuits.

Stretch After Exercise
Some research has shown that stretching after an exercise session may help to prevent severe muscle soreness and relieve it when it does occur, but not all evidence agrees. Regardless, you still need to stretch at the end of your workout for flexibility benefits and injury prevention.

Vitamin E Helps To Reduce Muscle Soreness
A study at Tufts University indicates that Vitamin E supplements (800 IU) taken every day for 7 days before a bout of strenuous exercise minimized muscle soreness.

Ice And Ibuprofen
Applying ice to the area that is stiff or sore generally helps with the discomfort. If that does not offer you enough relief, consider taking a dose of ibuprofen or aspirin to ease your discomfort.

Heat It Up
A hot shower, a hot bath with 1 - 2 cups epson salts or whirlpool can work wonders for achy muscles.

Move A Little
Enjoy a walk, swim or bike ride followed by a light stretch.

DOMS does serve a purpose and is actually a necessary process in preparing the muscles for further development. First, the inflammation process begins as a result of the exercise. Then, the muscle cells heal, completing the adaptive process. As a result, the muscle is more resistant to damage from future exercise. In most cases, the soreness only happens the first one or two times you perform the new activity.

Thankfully, the body does adjust and adapt to the exercises, allowing you to progress toward your goals - a leaner, stronger healthier you.

**NOTE** If you experience sudden pain, severe pain, or pain that lasts more than 4 days, you may have injured yourself and should consult a doctor.

Also see:
Weight train like a lady
Ask the personal trainer your exercise questions
Does your metabolism slow down as you age?
Exercise of the month

Joni is the mother of one child and a certified personal trainer specializing in women's fitness with over 13 years experience. For a complete home exercise routine under the guidance of a certified trainer, visit


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