The Benefits of Massage and Stretching

For a couple months now, I’ve had a 30 minute massage once a week.  For someone my age who lifts like I do, this is NOT a luxury.  I didn’t realize how important that weekly massage has become until a couple weeks ago when I had a conflict and had to skip a weekly session.  Didn’t think it would matter.  But I was very wrong.  I had more muscle pain than normal – just didn’t recover as well, even after a rest day.

Did a little research on why bodybuilders benefit from regular massages:

  • improved range of motion and flexibility – lengthens the muscles – same effect as stretching
  • reduction of recovery time
  • increased circulation helps eliminate lactic acid in the muscles – a natural byproduct of weight training.
  • prevents injuries due to tightness and speeds up healing if there is an injury
I know it’s keeping me healthy.  In the last year, I pulled a little muscle in my back 5 times.  Hasn’t happened since I started the massages.  Diana gets ahead of an injury and finds those tight spots before they become issues.  Sometimes she finds those spots before I feel them.  It’s obvious that I lift more when I’m not in pain.
In addition to the massages for injury prevention, I ALWAYS warm up before lifting.  I walk for 10 min on a treadmill and then stretch for another 10 minutes.  I need to stretch my back every day.  I also stretch the muscle group I’m going to work.  Then I lift.  This warmup gets my blood moving, prepares my muscles for the work ahead, and it gives me time to prepare mentally for that work.  Body and mind focused on the task.  It works for me.  I also stretch between sets. “Stretch before you stretch – and then stretch some more.”  Heard that somewhere – don’t remember where – but it works for me.
I know it’s an extra expense.  Hard to find the money for it.  But I will.  This is NECESSARY.  Injury prevention is very important.

And my “muscle therapist”  is unbelievably supportive of what I’m doing.  She’s becoming a good friend.  I’m very grateful for her.

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