Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness or DOMS can be felt anywhere from 1-3 days after exercise. It catches us off guard in that way because we often cannot remember what we did specifically to cause the reaction.

I do not often experience DOMS because I am careful not to push myself too hard however on Monday evening during my Yoga Stretch class, I deviated from my ‘lesson plan” and added a stretch that I had not done in over two years. I was feeling very good and I decided to challenge myself and the class.

Well, the soreness started last night and I only just put two and two together.  Even though this is my career, I had forgotten that this is the body’s normal reaction to being pushed a bit too far.  Instead of linking it to one of my classes, I started to imagine that I was experiencing the symptoms of some life threatening disease!  It is funny how our mind races to the worst scenarios sometimes. I can see how worried my clients are when they tell me about their DOMS. They are very concerned that this discomfort will be with them forever and that they may have done some permanent damage.

I always tell my students to do what feels right for them. This may mean only returning to exercise once the discomfort disappears, which is usually after a few days. I encourage walking and low intensity activity; hot baths or sauna. A massage may help also. In a short time, you should be able to resume exercise.

What I have learned from this experience is that I have not personally taken myself out of my comfort zone in a long while. I gear all of my workouts to my students and I need to get back to taking the time to workout on my own. I will repeat the stretch that has caused this muscle soreness but in a more controlled and gentle way. I simply had not done it in a long time and so my body is speaking to me this morning.

I hope this helps you to know the difference between soreness and injury. While it is normal to feel a bit stiff after a change in your workout, intense pain that keeps you awake at night is not. DOMS rarely causes sleep disruptions. When you are at rest, you should not feel the soreness. It can take up to seven days for all of the soreness to disappear however I really believe that being moderately active will help you recover sooner.

I tease my students and tell them that if they are experiencing DOMS, to come to class and let me know.  This is far better than “staying home on the couch and crying into a bag of potatoe chips!” Which is what I would want to do too…but don’t.

Have a great day everyone.