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Have you ever felt sore after starting a new activity or pushing yourself harder than usual during a workout?

Muscle pain that shows up a day or two after exercising can affect anyone, regardless of your fitness level.

But don’t be put off. This type of muscle stiffness or achiness is normal, doesn’t last long, and is actually a sign of your improving fitness.

Here are a few tips on how to combat DOMS

1. Contrast Methods · Here are a few titbits on contrast methods that I think you’ll find interesting:

Always start with hot and end with cold (unless you plan to go to sleep afterwards, in which case you should end with heat.) The duration of each stimulus is 1-5 minutes, but here’s the funny thing … apparently, the body will adapt to the duration so you must vary it each time.

The body should be almost completely submerged and motion is desirable.

The temperature must be appropriate (hot should be very hot, i.e. up to 110 degrees F, and cold should be cold, i.e. as low as 60 degrees F.) Repeat the process 3-4 times.

2. Stretching

At least once a week you should address the myofascial system. An excellent way to accomplish this is Pilates. You don’t have to necessarily put aside time to stretch  you can kill two birds with one stone.

3. Salt Bath

Once a week you should climb into the bathtub for around 20-30 minutes. Do this about an hour before you go to bed. Actually, I make a complete restoration meal out of it.

The recipe involves Sea or Epsom salts, a mixture of aromatherapy oils ie. lavender,peppermint,basil,marjoram

4. Sleep

Sleep is regulated by two entirely different systems – the sleep homeostat and circadian rhythms.

The sleep homeostat “functions like a drive that builds up during wakefulness in pretty much a linear fashion and is discharged when you sleep… The homoeostatic pressure to sleep depends not only on how long you are awake but on how active you are while awake.

Anyone can develop DOMS, even those who have been exercising for years, including elite athletes. DOMS can be alarming for people who are new to exercise and it can give their initial enthusiasm to get fit a real hammering. The good news is that the pain will decrease as your muscles get used to the new physical demands being placed upon them.

The soreness is part of an adaptation process that leads to greater stamina and strength as the muscles recover and build. Unless you push yourself hard, you’re unlikely to develop DOMS after your next exercise session.

You may exercise with DOMS, although it may feel uncomfortable, especially during the warm-up phase. You may find the pain goes away during the session but it will return after exercising once your muscles have cooled down.

If the pain makes it hard to exercise, then it is advisable to refrain from the activity for a few days until the pain eases. Alternatively, you could focus on exercises targeting less affected muscles to allow the most affected muscle groups time to recover.