Working out regularly offers numerous health benefits. When you exercise habitually, you:
- Reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes and other ailments
- Increase your metabolism, lose weight and tone your body
- Improve bone and muscular strength and flexibility
- Ease back pain and improve your posture
- Boost brain functioning and mental stamina
- Feel happier and more energized
- Enhance the quality of your sleep
But did you know that you can get more from your workout if you get a massage regularly? Various studies show that treating yourself to massage therapy after working out offers additional benefits which include:
1. It Helps Reduce Pain and Improve Muscle Recovery
If you constantly grapple with sore, aching muscles after working out, you may be suffering from delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMS. This condition is caused by torn muscle fibers which you may get from regular, intense workouts. Although DOMS often goes away within 48 hours and does not have any lasting effect, the pain can be uncomfortable and limit your range of movement.
Deep tissue massage has been effective in helping people deal with this condition. This type of massage (and similar ones) can expedite your body’s recovery process. This means that you won’t have to suffer too long from DOMS. You will feel better soon after getting massage therapy, ready for your work and other activities and your next workout session.
2. It Minimizes Muscle Inflammation
Strength training exercises, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and other types of intense workouts can cause your muscles to become inflamed. This is a normal response your muscles make while you are working out.
Getting a massage after exercising can reduce your muscle’s inflammatory response. As such, there is a lower risk that you will experience pain and swelling even after a vigorous workout.
3. It Helps Improve Blood Circulation
High-intensity workouts can cause trauma not just to the muscles, but to the tissues as well. If your body suffers from poor blood flow or circulation, the damaged muscles and tissue may not receive the nutrients they need to heal. As a result, you will feel pain and your muscles may become inflamed.
Massage therapy helps improve the blood circulation in your body. Nutrients will be properly supplied to both healthy and damaged muscles and tissues. This leads to faster recovery, muscle function improvement, and a decline in downtime.
4. It Removes Toxins From Your Body
When you exercise, your body accumulates lactic acid – a substance that contributes to muscle soreness and early fatigue during a workout. Treating yourself to a massage after working out will help break up the lactic acid in your body and remove it from your muscles. As a result, you will feel more physically, mentally and emotionally prepared for your next workout.
5. It Helps Improve Your Flexibility
After a high-intensity workout, your muscles may feel tight and constricted. If you get a massage after working out, you will help your muscles release this tension and accelerate muscle recovery. This, in turn, will lead to improved flexibility. With this increased flexibility, you will have an easier time performing activities that require a degree of litheness. Youlower your risk of getting injured when doing these activities as well.
6. It Gives Your Body Protection From Injury
Knee, shoulder and ankle sprain are some of the usual injuries you can sustain when you work out. For instance, weightlifting can cause a pulled muscle or muscle strain, and running or jogging can cause shin splints.
You can minimize your risk of getting easily injured if you regularly undergo a massage after working out. If your muscles and tissues are professionally and properly manipulated, they become less susceptible to injury.
7. It Helps You Relax
After going through a grueling and strenuous workout, get a massage to feel better and more relaxed. The massage will help you calm down physically and mentally so that you will be ready for your next activity.
If you work out a night, getting a massage after exercising will also help improve the amount and quality of your sleep. This is because massage therapy has been proven to promote better sleep patterns.
Different types of massage can help you acquire the health benefits you’re looking for. If you want to alleviate muscle soreness or pain and promote flexibility after working out, opt for sports, Swedish or Thai massage. A massage therapist that works with foam rollers can also help you achieve pain relief and better flexibility as well.
In addition, you don’t always have to see a professional massage therapist to reap the benefits of a post-workout massage. You can learn the basics of massage therapy by taking up a short course. You can then give yourself a professional massage after you work out. Soon, you may also be able to offer to give your friends and gym buddies a massage (and perhaps eventually do so as a professional) so that they can enjoy the benefits of this type of natural therapy as well.
Author Bio: Marc Innes is the Owner and Principal of the School of Natural Therapies, a training school for Massage & Holistic Therapies located in London.