The guilt was just too much. Even the bathroom scale complained. Your clothes were stretched to the limits of their material patience. You couldn’t resist any longer…
Returning to the gym after all those months finally quieted down your nagging conscience. But now your muscles are complaining, aching and adding to the regret of having returned to gym in the first place. Will you go again? Is it actually worth the pain?
We’ve all been there and had those very thoughts. The pain remains for a few days and turns out to be a real test of devotion to your physical fitness (often leading to those it’ll-be-alright-if-I-stay-off-the-crisps decisions that see us staying at home, pain-free).
Some remain steadfast in their quest for physical fitness, many of us give up.
But you shouldn’t, and you know it. Your body is important. Your health is a key component of your happiness. So instead of giving up, plan a little better next time.
Here’s what to do:
The body is quite amazing. It can sense when we’re ready to get back into action, when it should prepare itself to burn loads of unwanted fat. Muscle stiffness, ache and pain is a sign that your body is ready to jump into the fray and be all that it can be.
The pain you experience, in medical terms, is called delayed onset muscle soreness (or simply DOMS if you want to be geeky about it). It occurs when microscopic muscle fibres tear. This is a good thing because your body is now ready to adapt to its new physical requirements; once the pain subsides you’ll have more stamina and start building valuable muscle.
But instead of enduring the agony, simply opt for a sports massage, at least after you’ve exercised. A massage before exercise can be beneficial as well since it can help you limber up, increase your flexibility and the range of motion in your joints.
More About the Sports Massage
The sports massage is a specific type of massage which comes in three different flavours: the pre-event massage, post-event massage and the maintenance massage. It is a technique aimed specifically at the manipulation of soft tissue structures and armed with a number of benefits:
- Improved circulation to aching or damaged tissue (promotes healing)
- Reduction in physical pain
- Stretching of microfibers in muscles
- Improved mental state (less anxiety, more focus)
A sports massage may last from 30 minutes to an hour, depending on what you want done, or how much pain you are in. Ideally you should allow for 2 hours to pass after exercising before lying down on the massage table. This ensures that dilated blood vessels are given enough time to return to normal.
The result of the massage is worth more than the pleasure of staying at home, pain-free. You’ll have increased mobility, you’ll have more confidence and focus and you won’t try and convince yourself that staying at home is a better option. You’ll also save money and not feel so guilty when indulging in a packet of crisps.
But in all fairness, we can’t claim that a sports massage totally eliminates the pain. If you suddenly start exercising after years of inactivity you will still experience some discomfort. But you’ll be able to tolerate it and have more confidence to hit the treadmill again and again.