If you were one of the many that got out and ran this weekend in marathons, 10K, or just heard the calling of the sunshine, you may be experiencing soreness today. DOMS stands for Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, and sets in 12-24 hours after exercise and is greatest 3 days after. This type of soreness is believed to be caused from microscopic tears in your muscles from work that caused slightly greater stress than your muscles are used to. DOMS is a side effect of repairing these tears. A common misconception is that lactic acid is the cause of this type of soreness, when in fact lactic acid is not involved at all here. It has been found that workouts that utilize ecentric muscle contractions, that is muscles are lengthening while force is being applied to the muscle, cause these microscopic tears and lead to DOMS. Examples of ecentric muscle contractions include lowering the barbell in a bicep curl, your quadricep's action while walking downhills, or calf muscles' action in landing sautes. The best way to help avoid DOMS is a proper warm up and easing yourself into the exercise. Stretching has not been shown to prevent or lessen DOMS, but is always a good idea anyways (especially AFTER the body is warmed up).
If you are like me and already experiencing DOMS, a good way to ease the soreness is LIGHT exercise, this helps get the blood and healing properties to those muscles faster. If necessary, ice pack or massage can also be helpful. Don't worry, the soreness will only last a few days and your body will be better adapted for that type of exercise afterwards.
For more information check out http://www.acsm.org/docs/brochures/delayed-onset-muscle-soreness-(doms).pdf
CarliAnn & Ella