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Should I Get a Massage Before or After Exercising?

Discover the benefits of both pre- and post-workout massage.
Photo: Shutterstock

Massage is a great way to release tension that builds up in your muscles over time, and it can also reduce any stress and help you feel more relaxed. One of the most common questions people have is whether a massage is more beneficial to have before or after exercising. While it generally depends on your specific needs, there are some benefits to each option.

“Sports massages don’t only have significant benefits for those who work their muscles regularly, but also for those who experience tension, stress, or have injuries,” says a spokesperson for Total Shape. “Often people ask whether it is best to have a sports massage before or after a workout. There are benefits and drawback for both, such as boosting performance, encouraging recovery, and increasing hypertrophy. Getting a massage before or after a workout is equally important, and ultimately it depends on the results you want to achieve.” 

Here, the fitness experts at Total Shape share the pros and cons of having a sports massage before and after a workout.  

Benefits of a Pre-Workout Massage

  • Helps to enhance your mood. 
  • Stimulates the production of feel-good hormones by easing muscle stress and tension.
  • Endorphin, dopamine, and serotonin are some examples of hormones and neurotransmitters that help with overall wellbeing, focus, and motivation to work out. 
  • Helps increase energy and strength. 
  • A pre-workout massage can also help increase blood flow throughout the body, giving your muscles more energy and strength. 
  • Consequently, you can lift heavier weights, train for more extended periods, and achieve your fitness goals faster. 
  • Helps enhance movement and flexibility. 
  • A pre-workout massage can help loosen tight muscles around the joints. 
  • This makes it easier for the joints to move freely within their normal range. By moving better and being more flexible, you can lower the chance of getting injured while working out. 

Benefits of a Post-Workout Massage 

  • Hastens recovery.
  • Helps your muscles heal and recover from micro-tears caused by heavy workouts by increasing blood circulation. 
  • Oxygen and micronutrients are delivered quickly to the tissue fibers, assisting in their repair and making you feel better. 
  • Decreases muscle soreness. 
  • Massage can help relieve sore muscles after a strenuous workout because applying moderate pressure to muscles forces blood to other parts of the body. 
  • Brings more oxygen and nutrients to the area, which helps diminish stiffness faster and reduces inflammation. 
  • Reduces mind and body stress. 
  • A massage session after a workout, like a pre-exercise massage, can help your mind and body feel less stressed by giving you complete relaxation. 
  • Raises your levels of feel-good hormones, making you feel much better after a long, tough workout. 
About The Author
julieKeller_author-1

Julie is the co-founder of Well Defined and a longtime influencer and advocate in the wellness world. Along with her work at Well Defined, she is an executive recruiter and marketing specialist for Hutchinson Consulting. She is also a consultant and content strategist for numerous wellness brands. She is the former editor-in-chief and publisher of American Spa and was named a 2019 Folio Top Woman in Media in the Industry Trailblazers category and a 2018 winner of ISPA’s Innovate Award. She is also a seasoned journalist, specializing in spa, travel, health, fitness, wellness, sustainability, and beauty. She has been published in Departures, ForbesTraveler.com, E! Online, Gayot.com, Insider’s Guide to Spas, Luxury Travel Advisor, Marin Magazine, Ocean Home, Smart Meetings, Spa Asia, and Travel Agent.