Have you started, or plan to start a new physical exercise program? Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is something to consider. Reducing DOMS increases how much fun you have in your new activity, and improves the odds you'll stick with it. No one likes hobbling around the day after trying something new, or a particularly intense workout. Here are some tips and tricks that are affordable and convenient to reduce DOMS discomfort.
Water and electrolytes
Be sensitive to thirst signals and increase water to promote good circulation and hydration. Sometimes people on reduced salt diets or participating in outdoor activities also find their electrolytes are diminished when under heavy exertion. This would be something to consult with your physician or naturopath on - just like starting a new exercise regime in the first place.
Hot days, especially hot months, can be taxing on your body in addition to the activity you are introducing. Choose times of day when the heat is not as extreme, and/or reduce the duration/intensity of what you are doing to accommodate the weather.
Contrast showers or ice baths
Ice baths are an extreme cryotherapy technique traditionally used by athletes under intense conditions such as very long endurance events or high exertion events, such as cross fit. Submersing body parts, or the full body into a bath with ice cubes once or repeatedly over the course of a few hours, reduces the body's inflammatory response to the activity. Contrast showers are a less extreme method of controlling inflammation in over worked areas causing less region specific swelling.
Adding Espom salt to comfortably warm bathing water has long been used to soothe aching muscles. Soaking not only feels good and relaxes tight muscles with the warmth, but promotes blood circulation, furthering the healing process. It's also a wonderful reward after exertion, and something to look forward to!
Much like a warm soak, massage is an effective way to reduce tension and painful trigger points in knotted up tissue. Massage ranges from deep tissue to relaxation and many modifications in between, and it feels great too!. Remember to be clear with your therapist about your goals, pain tolerance and work together to customize the treatment you want. Massage therapists can also recommend stretches to offset tension in your body.
Minerals and nutrients
Talk with your MD, ND or nutritionist about the proper amount of protein and minerals like potassium, magnesium and calcium needed for your new physical workload. There are lots of natural food sources or supplementation options for these essential nutrients.
New beginnings are a lot more fun when you have the tools to manage DOMS. Best of all, these tools are accessible, affordable and readily available to support you in your new endeavors!