When you’re working through a training program or fitness routine, some muscle soreness is completely normal. This tenderness is known as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness – though you might hear it referred to as ‘The DOMS’! – and is caused by micro damage to the muscle fibres.

“Any time you’re doing resistance training, but also running because running is catabolic in nature, you’re breaking down muscle tissue,” explains Align chiropractor and crossfit trainer, Dr. Alli Cain. “Your body needs time to allow that muscle to repair itself.”

Recovery is key to better training and better health. Here are some of the things you should and shouldn’t do when you want efficient recovery:

DO: Rest.

Don’t miss out on sleep! “Building muscle doesn’t actually happen while you’re doing the bicep curl, it happens while you’re sleeping after you’ve done the bicep curl,” says Dr. Cain.

We recommend scheduling sleep into your training routine to ensure you get enough rest to give your body the time to rebuild itself.

DON’T: Skip meals.

Your body also requires energy to repair itself – that energy comes from food. Skipping meals or eating a poor diet will slow down muscle recovery. “Eat a good meal, balanced in the right amount of carbs, fats, and proteins that you need for your body,” suggests Dr. Cain.

Eating healthy meals will promote healing by discouraging inflammation, which can be enhanced by eating nuts, seeds, fish, and other foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids.

DO: Stay hydrated.

Dehydration comes with a whole host of problems but it can make muscle soreness significantly worse. Drink plenty of fluids and replace lost electrolytes to support your body’s physiological process and speed up muscle recovery.

DON’T: Overtrain.

Going for one more workout might seem like a good idea, but it can do more harm than good.

“If you’re not sticking to your planned program you’re going to see fatigue, you’re not going to be recovered, and you’re going to find that your runs become more sluggish,” Dr. Cain says.

Without a break, your body won’t get the full benefit of exercise. Take rest days seriously – and if you feel like you absolutely must to do something, do some active recovery like gentle walking or swimming. That will help get blood flowing into your sore muscles.

DO: Come see us!

We can help you get in shape and survive the dreaded DOMS – book an appointment today!

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