DOMS Rule One: If it’s hurt you then do some more

That walk in Guernsey has taken its toll. I haven’t really pushed myself very hard at all since the Wight Challenge and perhaps Wednesday was a bit too much for both of us at the moment. I spoke to the family’s budding sports physiotherapist and he immediately diagnosed Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), which is the pain and stiffness felt in muscles several hours to days after unaccustomed or strenuous exercise. You learn something new every day, though everything he said made perfect sense. Soreness is often worse a couple of days after exercise and my calves are painful today, that is for sure.

Counterintuitively, continued exercise may temporarily suppress the soreness. Apparently, exercise increases pain thresholds and pain tolerance and this effect, called exercise-induced analgesia, is known to occur in endurance training. I guess that’s why I never felt so bad during the very long walk last year. So in a bid to treat ourselves, Pammy and I went for a very gentle 4 mile stroll and I think we both felt better for it. However, as soon as I sit down for more than five minutes, it hurts for a few seconds on getting up. I think Pammy feels the same.

I managed to put on just one pound during the cruise, which counts as a pretty good effort over five days. Some of the cruise literature encouraged exercise, citing that an average of a pound a day can typically be gained when inactive on cruises. We have a 14 day Mediterranean cruise in September so we’d better watch out for that one. I am comforting myself that that single pound might well be muscle built from Wednesday’s walk – Monday’s Belgian effort was pretty run of the mill. So now it’s back to normal for a while, continued restraint on some foods and perhaps a walk on Sunday, weather permitting.

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