Matern, P. D., Dickinson, J. M., Garver, M. J., & Nethery, V. (2006). Light exercise does not ameliorate DOMS symptoms beyond that achieved by rest. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 38(5), Supplement Abstract 2182.

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The purpose of this study was to determine whether cycling and deep-water running as recovery exercises affect the severity of DOMS symptoms and biomarkers following downhill running. Healthy males (N = 25) completed a 25-min -11% downhill grade run and were assigned to rest (N = 9), deep-water running (N = 9), or cycling (N = 7) for the 96-hour recovery period. Deep-water running and cycling Ss performed 20 minutes of light exercise (RPE 10-12) following the downhill run and on each day of recovery. Soreness was reported using scales ranging from 0 (no pain) to 6 (unbearably painful). Active and passive muscle soreness and creatine kinase activity were measured prior to the downhill running and every 24 hours during recovery. Soreness during active movement (step up/down on a 40 cm bench) was measured prior to and immediately following each recovery exercise session.

Active and passive muscle soreness of the lower limbs was elevated following the downhill run with no differences between the groups. Passive soreness peaked between 24 and 48 hours for all groups. Creatine kinase was elevated and similar among the groups. Water running resulted in a temporary decrease in active muscle soreness immediately post water exercise.

Implication. Deep-water running merely provides transient relief in muscle soreness. Light water running and cycling exercise do not facilitate overall recovery from DOMS symptoms beyond that achieved by rest.

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