Main benefits of pre and post-workout massage

Woman at gym

Massage therapy represents a pivotal part of an athlete’s training routine. However, the intense effort we engage in when training make some massages ineffective. For example, though outstanding in activating relaxation, deep tissue massage is also demonstrated to install fatigue, directly affecting performance and the same can happen when you’re using a professional massage chair, for example.

Why it is recommended to get a massage on a regular basis

Athletes or fitness enthusiasts can integrate massage therapy either before or after their training sessions. However, the exact moment they opt for opens the opportunity to address different health goals. Pre workout massage is usually recommended for muscle preparation with direct impact on the athletic performance. Post workout is connected to muscle recovery.

Pre-workout massage and how it helps

When catering to athletes, therapists usually design their routine around deep tissue or Swedish massage techniques which present the key opportunity of increasing muscle flexibility. Applied pre-training, sports massage increases performance, prevents injuries, and positively influences an athlete’s mental state and motivation.

Warming out muscles

Massage therapy is demonstrated to relax muscles preparing for a wider range of exercises. Five minutes of massage are sufficient to stimulate blood blow towards every cell of our muscles. Pre-workout massage can be applied up to 30 minutes before our training sessions. Nevertheless, as muscular tension is released, endomorphies are activated, boosting both our motivation, as well as our energy.

Increase flexibility

Flexibility is correlated not only to muscular relaxation, but also to the movement of joint which is fundamental to our chances of a more diversified range of exercise. Furthermore, the impact of massage therapy on blood flow can extend performance on both the length of workout, as well as on the ability to integrate heavier weights in our routine.

Decrease the risk of injury

Sports injury are traced to the risks posed by tight muscles and knots which are connected to an abrupt disruption in performance. Its direct effect on muscle tension makes massage therapy as a highly effective strategy for preventing strains and sprains.

Post-workout massage. Why you need one

With a direct impact on muscle and joint recovery, post training massages are even more important than those preparing us for a new workout. The benefits of massage post workout can be easily deducted from the diligence with which trainers insist on finalising our fitness sessions with a couple of stretching exercises.

Man conducting post workout massage
The post workout massage is an important part of the training routine and it can also be conducted while using a professional massage chair

However, though stretching is critical to redirect our body to its everyday flexibility, intense exercises may have a different effect on muscles, imposing increased post workout care. To counteract the undesired effects of intense workouts, physiotherapists recommended a 30 minutes to 1h moderate pressure massage to be applied no more than 2 hours after workout.

Pain relief

The pain we may experience post workout can be traced to two core causes. On a more frequent basis, especially if we are just initiated into fitness or return to our routine after a more substantial pause, we are more likely to be challenged with delayed-onset muscle soreness which appears 24 to 72 hours post workout. Massage helps prevent muscle tension, supporting recovery. The second circumstance in which we can experience pain post workout is connected to possible injuries. Massage therapy is used for injury rehabilitation for its capacity to break up scar tissue, but also for its influence on blood circulation, as it accelerates recovery by transporting oxygen and nutrients to the affected areas.

Muscle recovery - reduce muscle soreness

Intense workouts are assimilated as an abrupt challenge to our body’s endurance. However, when already feeling that muscle soreness has installed after an intense workout, an hour or a half massage post training can provide a quick bounce to the desired flexibility. Opting for the wrong massage intensity can amplify muscle soreness and delay recovery. Physiotherapists strongly advise postponing deep tissue massage 24 to 48 hours post workout to not interfere with our body’s natural healing process and maintain muscles in their state of tension. On such grounds, light strokes are not only more enjoyable, but also demonstrated to reduce muscle tension.

Reduce inflammation

As a natural response of our immune system, body inflammation is recognised through 5 core signs: pain, heat, redness, swelling, and reduced function. Body inflammation is correlated to muscular tension accumulated in our muscles post workout. Massage is demonstrated to reduce soreness by 30%, allowing our body to speed up its recovery.

Relieve stress and anxiety

Before having its holistic effects confirmed through various scientific studies conducted in the last decades, massage therapy has been honoured since ancient times for its ability to induce relaxation. The physiology of the feel good effect can be connected to the release of endomorphins, whereas the impact of massage on blood circulation and the elimination of sweat is also demonstrated to allow the body to neutralise cortisol or the stress hormone.

Decrease respiration

Every fitness session increases our respiration whether gradually or as a reaction to the sensation of being short of breath. The impact of intense work out of respiration is directly correlated to our blood pressure which in its optimal value should account 120 over 80 mm Hg. Returning to our optimal value of blood pressure may take up to a couple of hours in which our ability to switch to other activities (such as intellectual effort or relaxation) may be affected.

Increase circulation

Muscle soreness is caused by circulatory disruptions which hinder the transport of nutrients through blood flow to cells. Through its direct impact on recovering from micro muscle tears, post training massage also allows restoring blood circulation to its optimal flow. Beyond its direct impact towards nourishing cells and tissues, blood circulating carries the function of flushing metabolic waste, increasing the detox effect targeted through workout.

Using a heated full body massage chair on a daily basis

Heated full body massages are seen more and more frequently in gyms. Fitness enthusiasts start or complete their training with a couple of minutes on the massage chair. The default setting of massage chair within gyms is usually focused on the stretching routine recommended post workout. However, the same stretching program is designed to also activate the necessary muscle heating demanded for a new workout session.

The Komoder Nova Duo massage chair
A heated full body massage chair will help you improve your daily workout performance

Even if integrating fitness into one’s day to day lifestyle raises endurance to physical effort, dedicating a couple of minutes on a massage chair pre and post workout provides distinctive benefits on multiple levels. As we already know, effective workouts cannot be conducted without relying on a couple of light exercises for heating up the muscles. Just a few minutes on a massage chair provides the same effect, while activating the release of dopamine with a direct influence on motivation.

Starting a training session with a quick massage should not be regarded as a strategy for getting new clients accustomed to fitness challenges. Trainers advice to change our fitness routine on a 3 to 6 months basis, as our body demands setting new health goals and the same sets of exercises which got us to a certain performance are unlikely to still deliver the desired outcomes. Massage chairs become unexpected allies as we introduce new challenges such as new exercises or increased weights. Moreover, massage chairs allow promptly responding to the impact of physical effort when conducted in spontaneous and less organised settings such as hiking or triathlon training.

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