Like all good things, your workout too can come with its very own hangover; overdo it on the track or at the gym and you might wake up to some very sore and aching muscles the next morning.
Do you wear sore muscles as a badge of honor, or does it put a spanner in your plans for the day ahead? Whatever your relationship with pain, the post workout hangover, or DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) as it is medically termed, is a reality you may need to work your way through – no matter how fit or active you may be.
Understanding A Workout Hangover
Muscle soreness is a sign that your muscles are indeed getting stronger despite the fact that it is a very inconvenient feeling to undergo.
DOMS occurs when the body repairs the microscopic tears caused in the muscle during the course of the workout- usually a result of increased strain and impact that lies beyond the muscle’s current comfort zone. Your body adapts to help you better prepare for the next time you encounter this new strain and therefore begins repairing the muscle- a process that is accompanied by localized inflammation.
Within 6 to 8 hours of your work out symptoms like reduced muscle strength, reduced range of movement and joint stiffness become evident.
They peak around 24 to 48 hours and usually fade away in 72 hours. This does not mean that all muscle strength is directly proportional to the amount of soreness that one feels. But certain muscles do tend to get sore as they work out and push their limits in the process of building strength.
The stronger the impact on the muscle, the sorer it is bound to get, in particular if this impact is eccentric- that is the muscle tries to resist its own lengthening such as when lowering weights, running downhill or lowering the body into squats or push-up position.
How To Deal With A Workout Hangover
It is natural to want to run away from the pain and soreness that DOMS brings but accepting it in the best interest of your own body. Anti- inflammatory pills and cold water baths may help temporarily to relieve the pain but they do little or no good in the long run.
A better alternative is to hit the track or the gym again to relieve the soreness and pain. Light movement such as cardiovascular exercises on a elliptical machine helps your muscles get back and moving a lot sooner, even if it means you need to find your way through the pain rather than around it. But when it comes to long term strategies that lend lasting results for your body, light exercise comes right on top.
The Final Words
Tweaking your pre and post workout eating habits will definitely compliment your efforts to relieve pain. Eating a snack/ meal abundant in proteins and carbohydrates soon after a workout helps accelerate the muscle repair process, alleviating symptoms such as soreness and pain- partially if not altogether.