Reducing the Effects of DOMS

Methods to alleviate post-workout soreness and aches.


Photo Martine Jacobsen

Even though delayed onset muscle soreness, commonly shortened to DOMS, maybe a natural post-workout effect through the course of building muscular strength and endurance, it is important to note that we need not necessarily be at its mercy. This post will mainly focus on some methods that can be adopted to help alleviate post-workout soreness and aches.

Topical Menthol Balm

The analgesic effect of topical menthol balms produces a cooling sensation that can help with muscle ache relief.

A study indicated that the application of topical menthol balms was able to significantly reduce the discomfort from sore muscles as compared to simply icing them. The menthol triggers calcium ions to affect temperature sensing neurons. This causes the cooling sensation to kick in, thus, disrupting the brain and pain connection.

The hot and cold treatment

Not the sort of treatment that might have been given to you by your high school crush, that is.  In order to reduce the effects of DOMS, a good circulation of blood flow is important so as to ensure nutrients are consistently supplied to the muscles. This can be done by subjecting the affected muscles to alternating hot and cold treatment, which causes vasodilatation and vasoconstriction of the blood vessels around the sore area.

A simple and effective method can be carried out by switching between hot and cold water in the shower. Keeping within acceptable temperatures at both ends of the switch, alternate between hot and cold every two minutes or so and you should be able to see some improvements from the muscle soreness experienced.

The answer is in fruit

Watermelons – L-citrulline that is found in watermelons are said to reduce muscle soreness when consumed pre-workout. Try having a few slices before engaging in intense bouts of exercises and those muscles might just be able to keep up after that.

Cherries –  These little red bulbs of wonder are packed with anthocyanins which help in increasing the rate of oxygen supply to muscles. Try stashing a handful of cherries to snack on post-workout and you might just free yourself from the effects of DOMS quicker than expected.


Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) have the ability to help increase protein synthesis and reduce muscle breakdown, thereby, conserving muscle tissues through the course of an intense workout session. This will ultimately aid in reducing muscle soreness because muscles tend to recover faster in the presence of BCAAs.

Active Rest

Instead of remaining relatively immobile in a bid to curb the aggravation of muscle soreness, it is widely advised that engaging in light aerobics exercises in the days to follow after an intense workout session can help in alleviating the effects of DOMS.

Keeping the body active encourages blood circulation around the body, thereby transporting the necessary nutrients to speed up muscle recovery.

In conclusion, it is crucial not to let muscle soreness keep you away from your next workout session. By engaging in one or some of the methods mentioned above, you might just be able to bounce right back to your regular training sessions sooner than you expect.

Alvin Ho is a certified fitness trainer and entrepreneur with a passion for bringing the notion of living healthy and actively to the masses.



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