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A woman alleviating her DOMS by foam rolling

How to Get Rid of DOMS: Tips for Quick Muscle Recovery

, by FLOW Admin, 3 min reading time

What are DOMS?

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) is the muscle discomfort and stiffness experienced 24-72 hours after intense or unfamiliar exercise. This discomfort is a result of microscopic damage to muscle fibers, which leads to inflammation, a natural part of the muscle repair and strengthening process. While often perceived as a marker of a good workout, it's actually a sign of muscles adapting to increased demands. DOMS usually subsides within 3-5 days, but the duration can vary depending on the intensity of the workout and individual recovery rates.

Recovery Strategies

Active Recovery:

Incorporating low-impact activities like walking can significantly aid in DOMS recovery. A gentle 20-30 minute walk helps in increasing blood flow to the muscles, promoting faster healing without overstraining the muscles. Walking pads provide an excellent tool for this purpose, facilitating an effective and convenient method for active recovery

Hydration and Nutrition:

Drink plenty of water and include foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon to reduce inflammation. Protein-rich foods such as eggs, Greek yogurt, and chicken aid in muscle repair.

Stretching and Mobility Work:

Gentle stretching and mobility exercises can alleviate tightness and improve flexibility, thereby easing DOMS symptoms.

Adequate Rest and Sleep:

Giving your body time to heal is vital. Quality sleep and rest days are essential components of an effective recovery plan. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep as it is during this time that the body undergoes most of its repair and recovery processes.

Foam Rolling:

This form of self-myofascial release can help in reducing muscle tightness and improving blood flow. Spend about 5-10 minutes rolling out each major muscle group. Pay special attention to areas of soreness, rolling slowly and pausing on particularly tender spots.

Cold and Heat Therapy:

Alternating between cold and heat therapy can help in reducing muscle inflammation and soreness. Start with cold therapy like an ice pack or ice baths for the first 24-48 hours to reduce swelling, followed by heat therapy, like a warm bath, to help relax and loosen tissues.


While DOMS can be uncomfortable, it’s a part of the muscle-building process. Each of these strategies, especially when combined, can offer significant relief from DOMS, allowing you to return to your fitness routine with greater ease and comfort. Remember, the key is to listen to your body and adjust accordingly.


Can certain types of exercise or workout intensity levels increase the likelihood or severity of DOMS, and how can one adjust their fitness routine to minimise DOMS while still achieving effective workouts?

Higher intensity exercises or those involving eccentric movements (like weightlifting or downhill running) tend to increase the likelihood and severity of DOMS, as they cause more stress to the muscle fibers. To minimise DOMS while maintaining an effective workout routine, gradually increase workout intensity, include a variety of exercises to condition different muscle groups, and incorporate sufficient rest days. It’s also helpful to start each workout with a proper warm-up and conclude with a cool-down period to prepare the muscles for exertion and aid in recovery.

How can one differentiate between normal DOMS and potential muscle injuries?

Regarding differentiating DOMS from muscle injuries, it's key to note the type of pain. DOMS is generally a diffuse, dull muscle soreness, whereas an injury often presents as sharp, acute pain or pain that persists or worsens over time.

Is there an optimal frequency for foam rolling and cold/heat therapy?

When it comes to foam rolling and cold/heat therapy, it's advisable to perform foam rolling daily for about 5-10 minutes per muscle group, focusing on sore areas. For cold and heat therapy, alternating every few hours in the first 24-48 hours post-exercise can be effective, starting with ice to reduce inflammation and then switching to heat to relax muscles.

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