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Hopefully you're a woman and/or mother who takes care of her figure and general health and fitness by way of the occasional workout in addition to healthy eating. With the huge number of gyms and other fitness establishments in the world around us, it's never been easier for women to find a safe and comfortable place to exercise.

If you work out at an inner city keep fit centre or health club, there's a good chance the establishment in question will have an in-house personal trainer or physiotherapist that provide sports massage therapy as a service. If you can spare the extra time and money, you should definitely try a sports massage session before or after your workout.

If you've ever had a normal massage before, you'll have some idea what to expect, but sports massage therapy is different to traditional massage therapy. The aim of a traditional massage is to alleviate tension in the body and make you feel more relaxed, whereas sports massage therapy is intended to prepare your body for the rigours of exercise and to help you exercise effectively and safely.

Before we talk about how sports massage therapy can help you, let's start by saying that you should only receive this treatment from a qualified expert who has obtained a recognized, professional massage qualification. A common example of such a qualification would be this level 3 sports massage qualification. This is very important, as only a qualified massage practitioner will know how to avoid applying the massage to any areas of your body that might injure rather than help it.

As we said before, you can have a sports massage session before or after your workout. Which of these you should do depends on what benefit you most want from the massage.

A pre-event sports massage, performed before exercise or sporting competition, is meant to loosen up specific muscle groups so that you can exercise them harder and with significantly less change of injury. This is useful for if you'd like to work on a specific part of your body, of if there's a part of your body that normally feels sore once you start exercising.

A post-event sports massage, performed an hour or two after your workout, stimulates the flow of blood and other fluids around the body's muscle groups and other tissues, which helps to reduce knots in muscle ligaments and allows your body to recover more quickly from the strain of the workout. This is useful if you're someone who tends to experience niggling soreness in your body for hours or days after a workout.

In summary, physical exercise can be a difficult and tiring experience, usually more so for women than for men. If you want to exercise regularly and keep fit, but have found that your body sometimes doesn't cope to well with the rigours of exercise, consider experimenting with sports massage therapy to make your workouts easier and safer for your body.

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