Getting your body to feel normal again after a workout can often take a little more time than you would like. This is especially true if you are new to exercise and you are using muscles that have generally not been over-exerted for a while, if ever at all! This is also likely to happen when you begin to increase the amount of weight that you are lifting, or the duration of cardio exercises that you are undertaking. You may find that you experience aching and reduced movement in certain areas of your body for anywhere up to a few days afterwards! Not only is this uncomfortable, but it can also deter you from wanting to continue with your workout plans.
Fortunately there are certain things that you can do in order to get back on track as soon as possible and give your body the support it needs to not suffer as much next time!
Your diet will play a huge part in this process and it is important to consume an adequate amount of protein and carbohydrates every day.
As well as your diet it is possible to utilise the benefits of massage to help your body to heal. This can either be something that you do to yourself, with a friend or family member, or alternatively you can employ the services of a professional masseuse.
Research suggests that you can really help your muscles fast by indulging in a massage treatment after your workout. So, how can you make the most of this concept and what is the science behind it?
Effective Massage Therapy for Muscle Recovery and Growth
In order to be the most effective, it is suggested that the massage lasts at least ten minutes and takes place immediately after the exercise session is complete. Doing so will affect two genes within the cells of your muscles. The first is a gene that tackles inflammation and keeping inflammation down will go a long way to keeping the aches and pains of exercise at bay. The second gene that is affected increases the production of mitochondria within the muscles. Mitochondria are effectively the power houses of your cells and they use oxygen and food fuel to generate the energy that the cells require. As you continue to exercise regularly, the amount of mitochondria in the muscles will increase, and it seems that a post-workout massage can enhance this process.
Previous research into the effects of a massage after a workout seemed to suggest that it helped to decrease the amount of lactic acid present in the muscles. However, further studies demonstrate that this is not actually the case.
Massage techniques are known to increase the blood flow around the body, which is then improving your circulation in general. When you experience consistent poor circulation you can suffer with several unpleasant side effects, such as cold hands and feet, fatigue, aches and pains and even a pooling of fluid in the extremities.
As well as being great for soothing your muscles and helping the cells within them to function at an optimum level, a massage is also just a generally enjoyable activity. It feels pleasant, it can help to calm you and it can be something to look forward to after your exercise is complete. On the flip side, those who have good circulation will naturally have lower blood pressure and good circulation will allow your oxygen-rich blood to adequately get around your body and do its job!
If you want to enjoy the benefits of post-workout massage and keep your muscles healthy then there are several options available to you.
Trust a Professional
First of all you could of course go to see a masseuse after each gym session. However, this could soon get expensive and actually be quite time consuming as you have to make your way from the gym to the massage parlour. The cost and time concerns aside, this is arguably the most effective way to get the maximum benefit from this kind of massage.
It is easy enough to learn some basic massage techniques yourself that you can then use after each workout. This is the most time effective and cost effective way to enjoy the benefits of massage. This also means that you will be able to massage your gym buddy if you have one!
Ask a Family Member
You may find that someone in your family or someone else that you live with has an interest in massage and would be happy to give you a short session after your workouts. If they have no existing experience then it is easy enough for them to learn some simple techniques.
When considering the benefits of post-workout massages you should keep in mind that there is currently no evidence to suggest that this will help with sports performance. The benefits are more for muscle recovery and growth.