Everybody deals with aches and pains from time to time, but active individuals (especially those who are involved in boot camp-style fitness) tend to experience them more than the average person. After all, when you are doing intense exercises on a regular basis, it is almost impossible not to find yourself feeling sore more often than not.
If you are part of this group and are struggling with sore, tense muscles, making massages a regular part of your recovery routine could be the best thing for you.
Stretching and foam rolling are great, of course, but working with a professional to break up knots and eliminate muscle imbalances will help you feel better and perform better during your workouts.
Not sure if regular massages will be good for you? Read on to learn about five of the best benefits of getting massages on a consistent basis.
1. Reduced Stress
If you are like most people in the US today, you are probably spending a significant part of your life dealing with high levels of stress. You might even turn to intense boot camp workouts to help you manage your stress.
While exercise has been shown to be great for relieving stress, exercise is also a form of stress on your body. Think about it. When you spend a lot of time jumping or sprinting or doing heavy lifts, you are putting stress on your muscles to help you push through these workouts.
Massage helps decrease cortisol (stress hormone) levels and encourages the body into a parasympathetic ‘rest and digest’ state, which is important for muscle recovery, relaxation, mood enhancement, and lower stress levels.
Regular massages can also help you sleep better at night, which will further promote muscle recovery.
2. Better Emotional Health
When you feel less stressed, your mental and emotional health also tends to improve. Massage can benefit anyone who is feeling chronically stressed, but it is especially good for people who struggle with anxiety or depression.
In addition to lowering cortisol, massage has been shown to increase levels of serotonin and dopamine (neurotransmitters associated with positive mood) and oxytocin (a hormone associated with improved mood and social bonding).
3. Faster Recovery
After a difficult workout, it is common to experience muscle pain. This pain is caused by decreased blood flow to areas with knotted muscle fibres.
Massage helps relieve pain by loosening up these knots and flooding the muscles with fresh new blood. This delivers oxygen and other important nutrients to the muscles to promote healing and reduce stiffness and swelling.
In addition to improving blood flow to painful areas, massage can also improve the circulation of lymph fluid. This helps eliminate metabolic waste products, improves overall body function, and lowers blood pressure.
4. Better Posture
People are almost always sitting hunched over steering wheels, computers, cell phones, and tablets. Their muscles are tense and, even if they are not feeling emotionally stressed, they are undergoing significant amounts of physical stress, which also does not do the body or the brain any favours.
Even if you workout regularly, you probably do not have the best posture when you are sitting or standing. Massage can help fix that by loosening up tight muscles in your neck and back. When these muscles are loose, you are better able to adjust the way you sit and stand without feeling as much pain or discomfort.
5. Stronger Immune System
Finally, massage can work wonders when it comes to strengthening the immune system. Chronically stressed people tend to get sick more than the average person, especially because stress tends to be combined with poor eating habits and poor quality sleep.
Massage can improve these aspects of your life and improve your immune system’s ability to function properly and fight off infections.
In addition to relieving stress, massage also boosts the immune system by improving its cytotoxic capacity (the activity level of the ‘killer’ cells). Since it improves circulation, massage can also help deliver the nutrients needed to fight off invaders.
As you can see, regular massages can provide you with a variety of benefits, especially if you love to participate in intense workouts like boot camp classes or Crossfit.
Need help convincing someone else that massages are a good idea? Show them this list of benefits today!