4 Reasons to Incorporate Massage Therapy Into Your Workout
Winter is truely upon us and the tried-and-true fitness enthusiasts are hitting the gym and taking advantage of the cooler weather. Though you may be busy planning out your workout routines for the rest of the season, there’s a critical recovery method you’re likely overlooking—Massage Therapy!
Indeed, many professional athletes and their coaches have sworn by the benefits of massage therapy for decades, with some professional teams even keeping a massage therapist on their payroll.
So what wondrous effects do massages have for athletes and workout enthusiasts?
1. Matters of the Mind– The key to any good performance lies in your overall mindset. Positivity and confidence begets extraordinary results that you can be proud of. But we’re all human and the everyday stressors of life can weigh on us even as we seek to escape them through healthy methods. Naturally, massage therapy has physiological effects, but its psychological benefits are vast and equally as important. Massage therapy has been shown to reduce anxiety and relieve stress and tension while simultaneously promoting relaxation by activating the parasympathetic nervous system . While undergoing your much-needed recovery, you’re increasing your dopamine and serotonin levels, and reducing the cortisol levels, which are directly linked to stress throughout the body. This relaxed state encourages better focus, aiding you in your next competition or workout.
2. Rapid Recovery– Let’s face it, when we first hit the gym there’s going to be some aches and pains. Though we all know that’s a part of the trade; to get into great shape we’ll go through some discomfort. But our recovery time doesn’t have to be extended or painful. Budget in time for massage therapy! Massage therapy has been shown to drastically reduce recovery time, allowing you to feel better and work harder. Recovery time is expedited because massage therapy dilates the blood vessels, allowing for increased circulation and oxygenation of fatigued muscles. Massage therapy also eliminates lactic acid and other toxins that accumulate during workouts, and it improves your overall flexibility and range of motion.
3. Eliminating Inflammation– Working out is a great mental relief and it allows you to literally work away the stressors of the day, but there are outlying factors that you need to account for, namely unwanted inflammation of joints. When we dive deep into working out we’re putting our bodies under a great deal of stress that it will recover from, but the shock leaves the body with various aches and if the muscles haven’t been utilized lately they’ll likely inflame in response to your workout routine. Luckily, there’s a remedy for your malady–massage therapy! Research conducted by the Buck Institute for Research on Aging at McMaster in Ontario has shown that massage therapy reduces inflammation in the body and encourages growth of new mitochondria in the body, the energy-producing units of cells.
4. Prevention Is Key– The American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) has found that regularly receiving massage therapy can reduce your chances of injury as you begin to delve back into working out regularly. Regular massages can be integral to your workout regimen or training arsenal. Aside from the relaxed mental and physical state you enter during your massage, the AMTA has shown that massage therapy helps reduce muscle tension, allows athletes to monitor their muscle tone and decrease stiffness and soreness post-exercise. These factors allow fitness enthusiasts to regulate their physique, ensuring that they properly stretch, relieve muscle tension, and prevent injuring fatigued muscles.
With fitness season kicking into high gear you’re undoubtedly going to start working out and refining your physique. While you’re focused on putting your body through the trials to achieve your goals, don’t forget to treat yourself to a little tenderness.
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