By bringing a combination of both massage therapy and fitness into your life, you can make strides toward greater balance and improved well-being. In fact, the combination of massage therapy and fitness can be a powerful catalyst for positive change not only on a physical level, but also in terms of a person’s mental and emotional health. Here, we explore some of the benefits of bringing both massage therapy and fitness into your life, rather than just one or the other.
First of all, let’s take a closer look at fitness. Fitness can mean many things to many people. For some, fitness is all about lifting weights to increase lean muscle mass and shed body fat. For others, fitness refers to cardiovascular exercises that aim to increase health of the heart and lungs while also burning calories for weight loss. Still others may think of fitness in terms of a healthy diet.
In general, fitness usually means a little bit of all of the above—building lean muscle mass, keeping body fat in check, eating a healthy diet, improving cardiovascular health and so on. In this sense, the physical benefits of fitness should be rather obvious. Regular exercise has been linked to decreased blood pressure and diabetes, along with a lower risk of suffering from an event such as a heart attack or stroke.
The mental and emotional benefits of fitness pursuits may be a bit less tangible, but they can be just as real as the physical benefits that come from consistent exercise. For example, people who engage in fitness on a regular basis may experience less mental stress, tension and anxiety. This could be tied to the fact that certain forms of fitness, such as running, have been known to produce feel-good chemicals in the brain.
However, even with all the above benefits and more, it is important to remember a schedule that is heavy on fitness, with little to no balance in the direction of rest and healing, can actually be detrimental to a person’s overall well-being. This is where massage therapy comes into the picture and becomes such a vital part of a balanced, healthy life. When viewed from this angle, it is no wonder professional athletes and sports teams tend to keep a massage therapist on staff.
When a person takes part in fitness pursuits on a consistent basis, especially intense fitness pursuits, that person puts stress and strain on his or her body. This continuous stress and strain can lead to increased risk for injury and decreased performance in whatever the physical pursuit may be. Massage therapy serves to balance out that stress and strain, helping the body to heal and recharge in between exercise or athletic sessions.
Besides balancing out the effects of fitness on the body, massage therapy also serves to bring about some benefits of its own. For example, massage has been linked to increased circulation and is known to have a strong calming effect on the nervous system.