How do you wind down after an intensive work out at our Kansas City boot camp?
Actually, maybe wind down is the wrong expression. After an hour pumping adrenalin those endorphins are going to be flying and you’ll be feeling euphoric.
What we mean is, how do you get your physical body to wind down? You’ll do your stretching of course. But what if your body needs something a bit more intense? Is massage something you’d consider?
We’re only wondering because there’s been a lot of debate recently about whether getting a massage after exercise actually helps. Some folk swear it helps loosen up muscles and boosts their circulation (although that would already have been boosted by the exercise)!
Other exercise zealots are keen on getting a massage because they say it helps with any inflammation brought on by pushing themselves too hard during their work out.
For years now the jury has been out.
But now researchers in Canada claim they have the proof that massage helps reduce inflammation and speeds muscle recovery after exercise.
To get this they cut into the legs of 11 male volunteers (yes, really!) to get muscle samples. After an hour of vigorous cycling they massaged one leg for 10 minutes. Then they took another sample from both legs. After 2.5 hours they did more samples on both legs.
The tests showed conclusively that massage helped with exercise. This is because when exercising hard your muscles get small tears in them. Your body repairs these by a process known as inflammation. The research, at McMaster University in Ontario, showed massage quickened up the cell repair process by converting glucose into energy and, at the same time, reducing inflammation.
As Dr Tarnopolsky, professor of pediatrics and medicine at McMaster so nicely puts it: “With massage, you can have your cake and eat it too—massage can suppress inflammation and actually enhance cell recovery.”
So what would you rather do? Take a pain killer to relieve muscle soreness or go get a massage?
Here at our Kansas City boot camp we’re aware that getting a regular massage can be expensive. But there’s other ways you can reduce tightness after a tough exercise session apart from stretching and massage.
For instance placing a heated pad on sore muscles up to three times a day for twenty minutes will bring blood flow to the area. Taking a sports drink will also help your muscles because the good ones contain potassium, magnesium and calcium – all of which help muscles relax.
How about you? Have you found a great solution for relaxing tired muscles and feel like sharing with our Kansas City boot camp?