You know that working out feels great, even though it sometimes leaves you with tight muscles and body aches. Massage is just the opposite, leaving you loose and relaxed. But did you know that there are a host of benefits associated with getting a massage post-workout? Athletes have been operating on this principle for years, but sports massage isn’t just for the pros. It’s time to send the memo to anyone who exercises.
Although naysayers deny that there is empirical proof to support claims that sports massage after strenuous workout can speed muscle recovery, with the best fat burner, studies have shown it to be true, as masseurs have known all along. A sports massage, which utilizes similar principles to Swedish massage (same techniques – long strokes, kneading – but usually performed a little faster, and with the addition of joint movement), has been proven to not only speed recovery of strength (up to 50%), but also to reduce swelling and leave muscles less damaged. And it’s no surprise if you know what happens to your muscles when you work out (and after).
If you’ve been interested in athletics for awhile, or have read up on exercise at all, then you have probably heard the comparison of a muscle to a rubber band (in terms of elasticity). You warm up so that your muscles don’t begin a strenuous workout “cold”, which could lead to injury as they elongate (damage muscle fibers from tearing). For the same reason, you cool down after your workout, maximizing your efforts by stretching recently-active muscle groups in order to ensure that they don’t “snap back” (shorten) too quickly. In this regard, massage is ideal. It keeps the muscles loose and warm, helps to imbue them with an extra blood supply to aid in healing, as well as flushing your lymph nodes to speed removal of waste from the body, effectively allowing you to cleanse and replenish. By getting a sports massage immediately (or soon) after a workout, you are virtually building on what you’ve already started. And sports massage, in particular, can also help with flexibility, range of motion, and joint pain. In addition, less stiffness and soreness, along with faster recovery, means you can get more out of subsequent exercise, allowing you to get in shape faster.
But those are just the physical benefits. Post-workout massage also offers psychological advantages. For one thing, it’s like rewarding yourself for your hard work, which provides a good motivation to continue. In addition, it can help you to focus, which is great after a workout, since most people have a million thoughts running through their heads while their bodies are otherwise occupied with conditioning. It will also help you sleep better, which aids in healing and, consequently, improves cognitive functioning (as it is not uncommon for strenuous exercise to leave you feeling fatigued the following day). With increased energy and concentration, you’ll have no excuse not to face the day after with a great attitude!
So if you thought massage was just for vacation, or only good for dealing with stress, you clearly had the wrong idea. More and more people are including post-workout massage as part of their exercise routine and reaping the benefits of healing and relaxation that come along with it. If you’re serious about your conditioning, are preparing for an event, are concerned about injury, or just want to maximize your workout, you really should consider penciling in a massage.
Strength training is a type of exercise that requires you to contract your muscles against resistance. It builds muscle mass and increases strength. Most commonly, strength training involves lifting weights to gain muscle over time. Research has found strength training to have multiple health benefits, especially when it comes to burning fat.