You’ve heard it a million times: Exercise is the key to losing weight, keeping energy levels up, preventing bone and muscle loss, elevating your mood…the list goes on and on. We know it’s good for us, so why don’t we do it more often?
Because it’s hard. Just five minutes in and most people are ready to give up. It would be great if there were a magical way to make exercise effortless, but it’s always going to require hard work, motivation, and a whole lot of sweat. Don’t give up, though, because there are ways to make exercise easier. And one way in particular is especially enjoyable, effective, and ultra-relaxing.
A massage. A professional massage carried out by a Registered Massage Therapist has the power to:
Massage therapy is a proven way to maintain and improve your flexibility and range of motion. Your RMT will loosen up your muscles, connective tissues, ligaments, tendons, and joints, making your body more fluid and less prone to injury.
Warm up your muscles before exercise
Muscles work best when they’re warm—they’re more elastic and have a better supply of oxygen. Massage helps energize your muscles by increasing circulation and bringing fresh nutrients and oxygen to the tissue. In other words, a good massage will get your body ready to move by priming your muscles to work at their peak performance.
Improve post-workout recovery
Small muscle tears are a normal part of exercise, and it’s these tears that are responsible for that pesky post-exercise stiffness. These muscle tears require protein for restoration, so it’s common for athletes to increase their protein intake in order to fix their microscopic muscle fibre damage. But dietary protein isn’t the only way to heal the problem—massage improves your body’s ability to produce these proteins naturally, speeding up your recovery.
As well, Canadian researchers have found that massage helps relieve pain in damaged muscles by sending anti-inflammation messages to muscle cells. In fact, these messages take the same pain-killing route as anti-inflammatory painkillers.
What’s more, the study found that the anti-inflammatory signals released by massage also improved the ability of muscle cells to make new mitochondria—the furnaces that convert food into energy.
To help you get to know your body and its limits
A massage can help you uncover sore and tight areas you may not have noticed before. Getting to know what’s happening within your body and learning how your muscles interact with the surrounding joints and skeletal structure will help you know when to work out certain areas, and when to let them heal. Also, this self-awareness will help you sidestep sports injuries before they happen.
Improve your overall attitude
The mood-lifting benefits of massage go beyond the physical “feel good” sensations. Massage actually alters your mood at a cellular level! Research has shown that massage increases levels of serotonin and dopamine, two neurotransmitters that help reduce depression, and decreases levels of cortisol, the “stress hormone.” Massage helps elevate your mood so you’re ready and motivated to give your next workout 110%.
Want to know more about how massage can make for a better workout experience—before, during and after? Or experience the many benefits for yourself? Then contact us at our downtown Victoria BC massage clinic or book an appointment online.