9 Tips to Workout After a Swedish Massage
Swedish massage has long been known as one of the best ways to give yourself some much-needed relaxation and even reduce pain, as it reduces stress in your body. But if you want to get the most out of your massage, you’ll want to use it as an opportunity to work out those knots that have been bothering you lately—not avoid it! Here are nine tips on how to workout after a Swedish massage, so you can make the most of this time that might otherwise go wasted on the couch instead of getting back into shape!
Can You Workout After A Swedish Massage?
It depends on how long ago your massage was. For those who just had their back or neck worked on and don’t plan on participating in any weight training, it is best not to work out for two hours after. This is because when you workout after your massage, blood will flow from your skin into your muscles which can cause you to feel sore for longer than usual. If however, you do participate in intense weight training immediately following your massage, you are more likely to break down muscle tissues which could result in tearing of muscle fibers or bruising; both of which should be avoided during recovery periods. Also if at all possible, avoid high intensity workouts such as Spinning classes or marathon running; but instead opt for light yoga or walking-based cardio.
1) Make sure you are well rested
You don’t want to be sore while working out. Make sure you have plenty of rest and that your body is able to handle another vigorous workout. If you worked out yesterday or just had an intense session, give yourself 24 hours before attempting another workout. If you are undertrained, overtraining or fatigued already, then don’t push it. You can always do another session tomorrow! Remember: listen to your body and it will guide you in what it needs. There is no time limit for recovery in between sessions and there is no point in doing more than what your body needs. So sleep, relax and recover because life does not stop after a massage!
2) Eat before, During, and after your workout
Fueling up before and after exercise ensures that your body is getting all of its essential vitamins and nutrients. But, some people are confused about what they should eat while they’re working out or whether they can work out on an empty stomach. It’s totally fine to workout on an empty stomach—as long as you’re eating throughout your day, too. And it’s always smart to hydrate before, during, and after exercise for optimal performance and recovery.
3) Go for 45 minutes vs. 30 minutes
We know, longer workouts can be exhausting, but if you’re looking for greater results from your next session, try boosting your time by 15 minutes. One study found that participants who worked out for 45 minutes at 70 percent of their max heart rate saw more improvement in their VO2 max—which measures endurance and helps predict performance levels—than those who exercised for 30 minutes at 80 percent of their max heart rate. They also burned three times as many calories when they did it: 408 compared with 144. For example, if you run five miles in 30 minutes, you might consider jogging 6.2 miles instead.
4) Stretch before and after your workout
Research has shown that when done properly, static stretching (i.e., holding a stretch for 30 seconds or more) before exercise can help you perform better during your workout and after. In fact, experts say that these stretches—which include exercises like standing quadriceps stretch and standing hamstring stretch—can even improve your flexibility by up to 5 percent over time. Still not convinced? A study in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise showed that people who did dynamic stretching at least three times per week saw significant improvements in muscle endurance compared with those who didn’t do dynamic stretches as part of their warm-up routine. Plus, it helps reduce soreness after you work out.
5) Drink plenty of water during your workout
The dehydration caused by exercise creates havoc in your body. Even mild dehydration can significantly affect your performance and recovery time. To keep yourself hydrated while you work out, it’s important to drink water throughout your workout and add electrolytes if possible. Electrolytes—sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus—are crucial for fluid balance.
6) Wear comfortable clothes
The focus of Swedish massage is on relaxation, so you’ll want to wear comfortable clothes that allow you to be as flexible as possible. Getting naked is not necessary and might actually make it harder for your masseuse or masseur, or masseusee or masseur (yes, I just used all those words), if they have strong arms—getting you into positions that are difficult to get out of, can hurt them and even tear muscles if they’re new at it. Wear loose clothing that lets you roll around easily; something like basketball shorts should work well.
7) Exercise at the appropriate intensity level
Before you exercise, talk with your massage therapist about how much time you should wait between getting your massage and starting an exercise routine. If your body is still very relaxed from massage therapy, it’s probably best to wait at least 90 minutes before doing vigorous exercise such as running or cycling. This will give you enough time for all of that soothing goodness—like endorphins and neurotransmitters—to get through your system and settle down into those tired muscles. You can then decide if you want to do a light workout such as walking on the treadmill or stationary bike or opt for something more intense like a yoga class. In either case, be sure to stretch first and hydrate after!
8) Use different types of workouts
There are so many great ways to work out that it’s never an excuse for not hitting your fitness goals. Whether you prefer power-lifting, yoga, spin classes or any number of other options, make sure that you give yourself time for each in your workout routine. Sometimes we become overwhelmed by trying too many things at once, and then feeling like we have failed because we aren’t making significant progress in any area. Just remember—make good choices and stay consistent. In no time at all you will be on track with whatever goal you are trying to achieve!
There are many ways you can use workouts as a way to help relieve stress and improve your health. Before every massage, you should discuss your exercise routine with your massage therapist. Talk about whether or not exercise is ok after treatment. If it is, stick with low-impact exercises like walking or swimming. Avoid high-impact activities like running and jumping until you speak with your massage therapist again following your next session. While some people say that they get the best workout ever right after getting massages, others find that it leaves them sore for days after treatment. Because everyone is different, there’s no one size fits all rule about when you should work out post-massage.