Had a great workout where you pushed yourself further than before? Got back to yoga class after a holiday?
You may feel some muscle soreness the next day or even the day. However fit you are, if you do that bit more exercise than you are used to, or a different form of exercise, it can leave you with DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). This is a normal response to exercise: some people view it as a really good sign that your muscles are growing stronger and you are getting fitter.
When your muscles work harder one of the short-term effects of exercise are small, microscopic tears to the muscle fibres and this is what causes the stiffness or soreness to occur. If you are new to exercising try not to let this put you off going again. Think of it as a key part in your body adapting to the new challenges: you will grow stronger and fitter as your muscles recover.
DOMS is different from the pain caused by a sprain or strain or any other type of injury you might experience whilst exercising. Any acute or sudden pain is a signal for you to stop what you are doing and get it checked out by a medical practitioner. Equally, if you experience heavy swelling, or your urine becomes dark it is a sign you need to get urgent help and advice. These complications are most often associated with high intensity exercise.
To avoid experiencing DOMS after a yoga session, start slowly and build up gradually, allowing your body time to adapt and change to meet your new activities. Exercising in our lovely warm studio after an energizing warm up should also help to reduce the risk of any muscle soreness the day after.
The good news is that the next time you come to class your body will have adapted and be ready to meet the challenges of your yoga session and there will be much less soreness and you will recover much quicker. The more often you come the fitter you will get.
Please consult your doctor before making changes to your lifestyle such as going on a diet or embarking on an exercise programme. If you are at all worried, make sure you consult your health practitioner.