After a long hard day of exerting your muscles, whether it be at the gym, on the track, cycling, kayaking, rock climbing, swimming, playing sport or any other way you work to get your body pumped, there is nothing quite like being able to surrender your aching muscles to the attention of a relaxing massage.
Sure, we don’t always have time for a massage, however, if you need a little more incentive and a way to justify it to yourself, here it is! Recent studies have proven that a massage after a strenuous workout does more than soothe your aching muscles, it actually helps speed up repair and growth of the muscle fibres!
The research suggests that through the applied pressure and movement of the muscles that have been exercised, genes can be switched both on and off which works to reduce the inflammation and encourage muscle adaptation. The action of the massage helps prevent inflammation by reducing the activity of a protein called NF-kB. At the same time, it stimulates the production of another protein, called PGC-1alpha, which works to stimulate the production of new mitochondria. These mitochondria are essential for energy generation in muscle fibres as well as helping them adapt to exercise.
So treat yourself to a massage next time you work so hard your muscles ache because you will be getting more than a little relaxation, you will be helping your muscles recover and grow!