It is recommended that exercise is not immediately performed after a massage. However, people often feel more flexible and mobile after receiving bodywork, which makes them think they can head straight to activity.
When Can I Exercise after a Massage?
It’s usually recommended that you wait around 24 hours after the massage before exercising again. Although, there are some massage techniques that are used specifically for pre-exercises, these are fast strokes to provide warmth and blood flow to the muscles.
Although there is no scientific evidence to support this theory, many people believe the reason of drinking water after sports massage is too speed up the body’s metabolism and providing a ‘flush’ to the bloodstream, removing any toxins. But, the main idea is water can help the kidneys process, allowing waste to excrete itself from your body.
The idea of re-hydrating yourself comes from the following thought process. Sports massage does work your muscles and increases circulation, which can lead to your body using water at a faster rate. Therefore, you may have a higher chance of becoming dehydrated. Drink water and allow your body some time to rehydrate before going to exercise and sweat more fluid out.
Delayed onset muscle soreness, or also known as DOMS, is a common effect of massage. Your licensed practitioner will manipulate and work your muscles. You will very rarely experience DOMS, but in some cases it happens. This is nothing to worry about.
Although, if you do have DOMs from massage, immediately hitting the gym may compound that DOMS, leaving you aching a lot more than normal.
Note: if you experience any severe, persistent pain after a massage, immediately contact your practitioner or doctor. A little bit of soreness is normal, but intense pain is not.
A belief among massage therapy professionals is the pressure from massage therapist can increase the flexibility of your muscles and connective tissue. Therefore, leaving the client in a more vulnerable position when performing high-intensity exercise, leading to potentially straining your muscles.
What about Light Exercise?
It is typically okay to do some light exercise, such as walking, after receiving a massage. If you have any queries, you can always ask your licensed practitioner. They should be able to provide you with more information on post-massage aftercare.
Please note, that massage is a relaxing experience, and it’s common to feel sleepy afterwards. Missing your workout after you’ve had a massage is not the end of the world. Indulge in that blissful post-massage feeling and relax instead.
Rather than going to exercise after a massage, the common recommendation is getting a massage after you exercise. It aids the body’s recovery process and therefore improve performance because you will be able to train more often.