We’ve all been there after a great KX workout. Legs so achy we can barely hobble up the stairs, shoulders so sore you wouldn’t dream of carrying those heavy shopping bags. So you better take a rest from your KX workout for a few days,
right? Not necessarily!

DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) is the general term given to that dull ache we sometimes experience in the hours or days after exercise. Most commonly we experience DOMS when we up our exercise intensity, or start a new workout program. Although our natural response to muscle soreness is to rest, DOMS is a natural adaptation process that leads us to better strength and endurance, as our muscles recover. In the past, stretching has been the treatment of choice for tired, achy muscles, but a recent Australian study found that active recovery (such as low impact exercise) can be a more effective recovery. And here’s why!

As we all know, when we exercise our heart rate increases causing an increase in blood flow. With that increase in blood flow, the body is able to bring fresh nutrients to our muscles, whilst subsequently flushing out the waste (lactic acid) leading to healthier and happier muscle tissue. The above mentioned study looked at the effectiveness of active recovery versus massage for DOMS treatment, and found that active recovery was just as effective in relieving muscle soreness, as a massage was. A great way to encourage active recovery in your KX class might be to take the lighter spring choices on the reformer, or try a Barre Basics class to focus on your alignment and technique. The key to active recovery is to get the blood flowing, without causing muscular pain.

Of course it is very important to distinguish between DOMS & a potentially more serious muscular issue, such as a muscle strain. Inflammation of the area will usually be the first sign that something may need further attention. Signs of inflammation include pain, redness, stiffness, swelling and heat. Strains will also cause persistent pain for longer than 72 hours, and will create a very specific pain to a muscle or area, rather than a general sore feeling. As a general rule of thumb if you feel pain from muscle soreness that is more than a 5 out of 10, it is a better idea to rest that bit longer before your next KX workout, until your
symptoms begin to improve.

It can sometimes be difficult to tell when it’s okay to exercise again, when you’re feeling sore. Whenever in doubt, have a chat with your KX instructor. He or she will best know when it’s okay to get the blood pumping, or when you might need further advice from your physio about your symptoms. It’s time to get the blood pumping to better muscular strength, health & endurance!

Dani Thomas

KX Barre Instructor