Fitness Fans: Listen to Your Body When it's Time for Massage, MASSAGE MagazineAnyone who has received a massage following a few days of intense physical activity most likely knows the massage therapy experience is different when your body is sore versus when you receive massage following several days of rest and relaxation. Even though massage therapy almost always feels good, some people seem to prefer or value their massages more when they take place at a time when the body is aching.

It seems there may be inherent wisdom to the concept of enjoying a massage more when your muscles are tight and tense. Going to get a massage after intense fitness pursuits not only feels great, but it can also be great for your health. Therefore, the fact so many people’s thoughts turn toward massage after engaging in fitness events appears to be an all-around positive trend.

Next time you are feeling the effects of an intense week of fitness activity, do not fight the inclination to book an appointment for massage therapy. Your mind and body may be telling you that a massage is the necessary counterbalance to all that fitness-oriented work you have been doing. In fact, a quality massage session can actually help to speed healing and recovery after days of fitness pursuits have broken the body down.

For example, your fitness routine may include cardiovascular exercise, such as running or jumping rope, along with resistance training, such as performing body weight-based exercises or using weights and machines. This combined fitness focus on cardiovascular and muscular health is quite common, perhaps because it can be a great all-around fitness routine.

However, while engaging in cardiovascular and muscular fitness protocols is wonderful in terms of boosting respiratory health, shedding body fat and building lean muscle mass, such fitness pursuits also take a toll on the body. This is what you feel when you wake up with aching muscles or a body that is drained of vital energy. At this point, instead of gearing up to take on another day of intense fitness routines, turn your attention to massage therapy.

The point here is you can learn to listen to your body, so that you know when it may be time to balance the intensity of your fitness schedule with the rest and recovery of a much needed massage. The danger of not listening to your body when it is aching or tired, or both, is you may go about your fitness routine as usual and end up with an overuse injury.

For fitness enthusiasts who participate in competitive events, such as races or sports matches, the risk of skipping out on the restorative benefits of consistent rest periods and regular massage appointments may be that your performance suffers. After all, it is hard to perform at the top of your game when your muscles and joints hurt, your range of motion is limited and your energy levels are low.