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Health Notes: Is exercise as good as massage?

Studies show that exercise just as good for soreness as massage and is the best prescription for longevity and health.

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Massage and warm-up exercise have same effect on sore muscles


If your customers experience any sort of muscle fatigue or soreness, their first act of business is generally to schedule a massage.

But according to a recent study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, actively warming up muscles with exercise can be just as effective as massage when it comes to soothing soreness.

The National Research Center for the Working Environment in Copenhagen, Denmark, recruited 20 women to exercise their shoulder (trapezius) muscles using a resistance machine. The women then returned to the lab two days later and were asked to rate their soreness.

After rating their soreness, the participants were given a massage on one shoulder and were asked to do a 10-minute exercise with the other. Some of the participants did the massage first, exercise second, and others did the reverse.

The group that did the exercise first reported a reduction in their soreness at about the same level in both shoulders.

“Massage and exercise had the same benefits,” said Lars Anderson, who headed up the study. “If people go out and exercise and get sore, they can find some relief in just warming up the muscles.”

So what? People are always looking for an excuse not to exercise, and practically beg us to give them a reason to do it. Here’s another piece of ammunition for your arsenal — in addition to the health benefits like living longer and sleeping better, turns out light exercise can have the same soothing effect as a massage.

For the scientifically minded: Find the study here.

Exercise best prescription for long life

There’s no fountain of youth.

At least we haven’t found it yet, or we’d be chugging a CamelBak full of Fountain of Youth water all day, every day.

After reading a story in the National (a newspaper based in the United Arab Emirates) that detailed research from the American College of Sports Medicine’s Exercise is Medicine initiative, we know that simply being active is like drinking from the Fountain of Youth.

Research findings of the initiative, which seeks to get exercise prescribed to overweight, obese or inactive individuals, showed active people in their 80s had a lower risk of death than sedentary people in their 60s.

“Researchers say exercise may ward off cancer and other diseases because it appears to beef up the body’s immune system,” said Safeek Ali, a Dubai-based dietician.

The study noted that regular exercise can reduce mortality and the risk of recurring cancers by about 50 percent, stroke by about 27 percent and heart disease and high blood pressure by 40 percent.

However, the type of exercise recommended by doctors and researchers varies depending on a person’s age and health conditions.

So what? Baby boomers and seniors are a demographic you want to target in your stores. Sharing that active people in their 80s are more likely to live longer than inactive people in their 60s is a powerful statement. It’s not just a selling tool, it’s a way to motivate people to get out there and improve their lives and their health.

For the scientifically minded: Click here to read the article summarizing the findings.