How does massage ease stiff muscles when you’ve overdone it at the gym?
Updated: Jul 10, 2018
Gone at it hammer and tong at the gym and feeling so stiff you’re not sure you can ever get off the sofa again (never mind anywhere near a running machine)? Fear not, a tailored massage could get you back
on track again!
We’ve all been there. You’ve overdone it on the workout front, and your glutes and thighs are in such agony that it takes you a day just to get down the stairs! Or perhaps you’ve gone overboard on the squats and you feel like the Hunchback of Notre Dame – or you’ve done so many crunches that your abs hurt like hell when you laugh or sneeze?
Massage therapist, Mo says almost every kind of muscle stiffness has the same cause – meaning the same kind of massage, simply focusing on the affected area, will ease the stiffness.
No matter where muscle stiffness occurs in the body, its causes are the same: build-up of lactic acid, toxins in the muscle and/or shortening of the muscle, explains Mo; and there are three crucial reasons why a massage post-exercise is one of the most effective ways of sorting it out.
‘A good massage gets the blood circulating around those muscles again after exercise. It also helps with lymphatic drainage – getting all those toxins out of the muscle, and it encourages the muscles to elongate back again – because commonly after exercise, muscles shrink, causing more pain,’ she says.
If muscle stiffness is a chronic, ongoing problem (eg. after an injury), it may take several sessions to reap the greatest benefits. If you’ve just been a little over enthusiastic in your last workout – or recently run a marathon (!), a single session can help hugely, adds Mo ‘Having regular massage actually helps you train better and train stronger,’ says Mo . ‘That’s why top athletes will have a massage a day! I can’t recommend them highly enough.’