The Benefits of Integrating Massage Into Your Exercise & Fitness Routine

Receiving a massage is often seen as an indulgence because it feels so good. With the right massage therapist, the human touch and manipulation of limbs, skin and muscles in a soothing setting will leave a person feeling relaxed and pampered. It’s much more than a splurge at the spa, however. Massage is a body treatment that can improve health and sport performance as well as reduce stress and pain.

As a part of your fitness and exercise routine, massage therapy will:

*Stretch tight or atrophied muscles.
*Increase flexibility in your joints.
*Improve circulation to your muscles, bringing in more oxygen and nutrients.
*Reduce muscle cramping.
*Loosen overused muscles.
*Release endorphins which will reduce pain in injured muscles.
*Reduce heart rate and lower blood pressure.

All of this will improve a person’s performance in sports and exercise with increased range of motion, muscles that are able to respond more quickly, and less pain in endurance sports. While massage does not build strength in muscles, by stimulating weaker or inactive muscles, it can help with performance when trying a new sport or exercise.

With regular massage, an athlete or anyone looking to improve their fitness level and health will find their recovery time from hard workouts will be faster and that pain is lessened in later workouts.

In addition to all of this, massage will help boost immunity to disease and reduce daily stress which can also cause disease and ailments. Getting a massage can help to decrease anxiety and improve sleep quality which leads to increased energy and concentration, leading to a more productive and stress free day.

One organ that exercisers often overlook in their health regimen is the skin. The skin is the body’s largest organ and is the cooling system for the body with the release of sweat and its evaporation from the skin. The increased circulation of blood through body massage will improve the skin’s condition and keep it working effectively, not to mention an improvement in overall appearance.

There are several different types of massage therapies. The most basic is called a Swedish massage which uses strokes, kneading and circular movements. Sports massage is similar but mainly aims to treat and improve recovery from particular sports injuries. Muscle damage is also addressed with Deep-tissue massage which targets deeper layers of muscle and is felt to be more forceful.

When looking for the right therapy to try, a person should think about their goals and their current physical condition. Interviewing the massage therapist before hand to make sure they are licensed for your area and a good fit for your needs is also important. The therapist should make you feel comfortable, relaxed and safe. Your personal trainer, medical doctor or alternative medicine specialist may be able to make some local recommendations for massage therapists.

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