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Exercise your options for sore muscles – massage or light exercise?

Exercise your options for sore muscles – massage or light exercise?

You worked out at the gym a few days ago and went all-out with extra reps or achieved a personal best in the amount of weight for that bench press. Felt great, didn’t it? But you woke up the next day very sore and those muscles are tender to the touch. How to speed up the recovery process and get back to normal again? Here at Merritt Athletic Clubs, you can exercise your options and find the solution to muscle soreness.

Many people believe that a massage is the best solution for relieving muscle soreness and that the action of a massage speeds up the healing process by removing the lactic acid buildup in the muscles after a hard workout. But new research concludes that for most people, performing light exercise to warm up sore muscles is just as effective as a massage.

A new study published online by the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research concludes that both exercise and massage have similar benefits when it comes to relieving sore muscles.

Researchers at the National Research Center for the Working Environment in Copenhagen compared the effects of massage or light exercise in 20 women who performed resistance exercises on their shoulders and necks, specifically the trapezius muscles. After reporting moderate levels of muscle soreness a few days later, they had a 10 minute massage on one shoulder and a did a light 10 minute exercise workout on the other shoulder. The women reported almost identical relief in muscle soreness from both exercise and massage.

The study did not measure the impact of warming up the muscles to relive soreness on athletic performance but reasoned that it would probably be difficult for athletes to perform well with lingering muscles soreness or stiffness. More research would be necessary to study athletic performance and massage vs. light exercise.

Professor Lars Andersen, the lead author of the study, concluded that exercisers could find effective relief from muscle soreness through light exercise, and said “It’s a common belief that massage is better, but it isn’t better. Massage and exercise had the same benefits.”

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