Post-workout Muscle Fatigue | Face Medical

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Post-workout muscle fatigue, also known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), is the sensation of discomfort and pain in the muscles that typically develops 12 to 24 hours after intense physical activity and can peak in severity 24 to 72 hours later. It’s a common occurrence, especially for individuals engaging in new or particularly strenuous exercises.

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Several factors can contribute to the development of post-workout muscle fatigue:

  • Microscopic Muscle Damage – during intense workouts, especially those involving eccentric (lengthening) muscle contractions, microscopic damage occurs in muscle fibres. This damage triggers an inflammatory response as the body works to repair and strengthen the affected muscles.
  • Lactic Acid Buildup – contrary to belief, lactic acid buildup is not the primary cause of muscle soreness. However, it can contribute to the discomfort experienced during and immediately after exercise. The body typically clears lactic acid within hours after a workout.
  • Inflammation – the inflammatory response in the damaged muscles can cause pain and swelling. White blood cells and other immune system components are dispatched to the damaged area to facilitate healing.
  • Muscle Tightness – stiffness and tightness in the affected muscles can result from the inflammatory process. This sensation can make movements uncomfortable.
  • New or Unaccustomed Activities – trying new exercises or increasing the intensity or duration of a workout can significantly contribute to muscle fatigue. The body needs time to adapt to these new challenges.
  • Dehydration and Electrolyte Imbalances – inadequate hydration or imbalances in essential electrolytes like potassium and magnesium can exacerbate muscle soreness and cramping.

While post-workout muscle fatigue can be uncomfortable, it’s a normal part of the muscle-building process. It indicates that the muscles are adapting and becoming stronger. To manage DOMS, individuals can use techniques such as gentle stretching, foam rolling, and applying heat or cold. Adequate hydration, proper nutrition, and allowing sufficient time for recovery between intense workouts can also help reduce the severity and duration of post-workout muscle fatigue. Face medical can also lend a hand through regular sessions with our Body Ballancer treatment. It provides a type of ‘passive active recovery’ through improved circulation and lymphatic flow.