5 Myths About Muscle Soreness
Ever had a tough workout that leaves you feelings for the next three days? You're experiencing the effects of Delayed-onset Muscle Soreness or DOMS for short. Believe it or not, this is a completely normal reaction by the body to repair itself. Exercise, itself, causes muscle damage which, much like any other injury, causes the body to have to repair itself. There can be a lot of confusion surrounding DOMS, so below you can find five debunked myths!
Myth #1: DOMS is caused by the build-up of lactic acid in your muscles.
The verdict: Not true. During exercise, your body needs energy, and it breaks down molecules to get that. As a result of this metabolic process, your cells naturally become more acidic which makes your muscles feel like they’re burning. But lactate doesn’t cause this. Lactate is actually a by-product of the metabolic process and serves as a buffer and slows down the rate at which the cells become acidic. A study in Clinics in Sports Medicine found that DOMS is the result of microtrauma in the muscles and surrounding connective tissues, which causes inflammation.
Myth #2: It’s not a good workout unless you’re sore the next day.
We often wear our DOMS as a badge of honor and believe that if we’re not sore, we’re not doing enough during out workouts. But that’s just not true. studies show that soreness itself (using a scale from 0 to 10 to assess the level of soreness) is a poor indicator of muscle adaptation and growth, therefore, soreness and DOMS isn’t the best gauge of how effective your workout was or who’s in better shape.
Myth #3: The more fit you are, the less susceptible you are to DOMS.
It’s true that you will start to feel less sore as your body adapts to your workouts and learns to distribute the workload across your muscle fibers more effectively. That’s why you should regularly change up your exercise routine.
Myth #4: Muscle damage is a bad thing.
Yes, trauma to your muscle fibers appears to cause DOMS, but it’s not a definitive measure of muscle damage. In fact, a certain degree of soreness seems to be necessary. Some muscle trauma is needed to stimulate protein production and muscle growth.
Myth #5: Pre- and post-workout stretching is a good way to prevent and treat DOMS.
Unfortunately, no. A review of studies for the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews on the effects of stretching before or after exercise on the development of delayed-onset muscle soreness found that pre- and post-workout stretching did not reduce the effects of DOMS in healthy adults.