If you’re a stranger to massage or think it’s just for a vacation treat, think again. Massage is a key recovery tool for active athletes of all ages, including people over 50 who work out regularly, or run, play tennis, garden or participate in any kind of physical activity.
It’s one of many tools fitness professionals can use to help you at any time with body aches, inflammation, muscle tightness and more. And after a particular stress or injury, massage can speed up healing and get you back to feeling better.
“It has to be part of your self-care, especially as we are actively aging,” says Jackie, a trainer in her 50s. “Regular massages are great for keeping us moving optimally.”
Indeed, massage is on the maintenance menu for many people over 50 who stay in shape. They don’t wait till something happens. They use massage as prevention and regular self-care.
“It’s always so easy to put yourself on the back burner,” adds Remy, also over 50, who stretches daily, gets a massage weekly, and sees the chiropractor once a month. “It should be part of a health-oriented lifestyle for body and mind.”
Variety of styles
Various forms of massage have been practiced throughout the ages. Some focus on relaxation. Some focus on helping athletic people recover and perform better. Any licensed massage therapist can help determine the proper therapy, depending on what you want (even if it’s just relaxing – because there’s nothing wrong with that).
Swedish – Gentle, full-body. Nice introduction. Releases knotted muscles.
Deep-tissue – More intense but not painful. Good for injury, chronic problems, tight muscles.
Sports – Treats stress from repetitive motion, like those involved in sports.
Reflexology – Gentle to firm application on pressure points in feet, hands and ears.
Chair – If you’re in a hurry or haven’t had a massage before. Focuses on the neck, shoulders and upper back.
All of them help stimulate blood flow, soften hard tissue, stimulate the nervous system, and improve immunity.
Massage also gives us better sleep, which is essential for physical healing and mental health. It can even help with arthritis.
Touch alone reduces stress and helps us feel good. Everyone needs that, at any age.
'Particular value' for active agers
About 9 million people over 55 get a massage each year, according to the American Massage Therapy Association. The main reason? “Pain relief, soreness/stiffness and recovery from injury.”
The group says, “While integrating massage therapy into a health and wellness plan is useful for all ages, it holds particular value in the growing (over-50) population.”
Talk to us about massage therapy, chiropractic treatment, stretching and other ways to stay healthy while you’re staying active.