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Don't let the discomfort put you off

I had a discussion after my last class that made me think about how important it is to pass on information to encourage regular participation in fitness and sports.

Those who are used to exercise often take the aches that they feel after a workout for granted and some of us even welcome it! It shows that we have worked hard and challenged ourselves – right?! However, for those who are new to exercise or are getting back into fitness it can be off putting and worrying – they may feel that they have done something wrong or they will always feel that way after exercise.

The technical term for soreness after exercise is Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). It describes the soreness that is felt 24 to 72 hours after exercise. It can follow after intense or muscular exercise (particularly exercises that involve eccentric muscle contractions). Why it happens is not completely understood but it is thought to occur because muscles in the body are unaccustomed to the exercise. Your body should quickly adapt to this and any soreness should disappear within five days.

It is thought that DOMS can be alleviated by heat so having a hot bath or sauna may help – a perfect excuse to treat yourself! Although, the best way to alleviate DOMS is to stick to your exercise routine, rest and keep hydrated. Once the body gets used to the new exercise – the soreness will be less. This adaptation shows that you are benefiting from the exercise – you are getting stronger and fitter!

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