A sports massage can be a great way to relieve tension in your muscles and reduce the risk of both injuries and pain. In this article, our qualified sports massage therapists explain how long you should rest after having a massage, and why resting is important for your muscles.
How Long Should You Rest After a Sports Massage? To experience the maximum benefits of a sports massage, you should rest for 24-48 hours after a massage to allow time for muscle recovery. You shouldn’t workout within this timeframe, but you can partake in light exercises, such as walking, swimming, and gentle yoga.
Read on to find out more about why you should rest after a massage, as well as the benefits of doing so.
How Long Should You Rest After a Sports Massage?
At a minimum, you should rest for at least 24 hours after your massage to ensure your muscles have plenty of time to repair themselves. Post-massage soreness is completely normal after a sports massage, and your muscles may still feel tight after 48 hours, which is a sign they are still recovering.
Why Should You Rest After a Sports Massage?
There are a few reasons why you should rest for at least 24 hours after a sports massage, we explore some of the reasons below:
Risk of Injury
After a massage, your muscles and connective tissues are more pliable and soft, which could increase your chances of an injury. If you take part in strenuous exercise (such as weightlifting, or running) soon after a sports massage, you are putting yourself at risk of straining your muscles and tissue, which could result in swelling, bruising, and loss of strength.
When your muscles are trying to recover after a massage, your body uses up more water. Because of this, your chances of becoming dehydrated are increased. You should avoid excessive sweating and give your body time to get back to its normal hydration state. We’d also advise that you drink plenty of water before and after your massage to help speed up your sports massage recovery.
Delayed onset muscle soreness, also known as DOMS, is the achy feeling you get after an intense workout. DOMS after a sports massage is completely normal, as your muscles are working hard to repair themselves. If you workout while experiencing DOMS, you aren’t giving your muscles enough time to heal, and your workout may also be quite painful.
How Long are Your Muscles Sore After a Sports Massage?
As we mentioned earlier, you may experience delayed onset muscle soreness after a sports massage due to the technique we use that carries nutrients and blood to your muscles. The soreness usually peaks after 24 hours, like it would after any other workout. Most of the DOMS will be gone after 48 hours, but it could even last longer than that.
For more information on aches and pains you may feel during and after your sports massage, read our blog post. We discuss why some massage techniques may be slightly painful, but also how they can benefit your body.
Can You Work Out After a Sports Massage?
To ensure your body has time to recover after a sports massage, you should avoid heavy workouts for at least 24 hours after the massage. Heavy workouts may include running, weightlifting, and climbing. If you want to stay active, try partaking in light exercises, such as walking, swimming, and gentle stretches.
What are the Benefits of a Sports Massage?
Sports massages aren’t just for regularly active people, or those who are injured. In fact, all of us could benefit from a sports massage from time to time, as massages come with many benefits:
- Increased flexibility and muscle mobility
- Helps with joint mobility
- Increased blood flow and nutrients to the area
- Helps to eject metabolic waste, such as lactic acid
- Promotes relaxation and releases endorphins
- Boosts your performance and wellbeing
To find out more about the science behind sports massages, as well as our top tips for getting a sports massage, read our recent blog post.
How Often Should You Get a Sports Massage?
The frequency at which you get massages will depend on how active you are and the goals you want to achieve with your session. If you’re part of a sports team or partake in heavy exercise, you may want to go for a sports massage once a week. This ensures your muscles have the chance to relax, and any smaller niggles can be sorted before they become painful. If you have an injury, speak to your massage therapist and see how many sessions they’d recommend for a speedy recovery.
Sports massages aren’t just for athletes, even if you only enjoy light exercise once or twice a week, a massage once a month is recommended to keep your body in check. To find out more about the recommended frequency of sports massages, read our recent blog post.
Sports Massages at Katie Bell
Here at Katie Bell Physiotherapy & Wellness, we offer a range of massage services, including deep tissue and sports massages at our clinic in Sheffield. Our massage therapists will work collaboratively with you to ensure you get the most out of your massage session.
The team of therapists at Katie Bell is greatly experienced in tailoring a sports massage to the individual in front of us, so no matter your pain threshold you will leave feeling relaxed & rehabilitated.