Exercise and massage? What are the basics?

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Exercise and massage? 

Exercise and massage go together. Having both practices in your life can greatly reduce chronic pain and inflammation. Trust me, when you start to move and groove outside of your massages, you will start to feel exponential results! You will see improvements in your range of motion, posture , emotions, muscular strength, stability and cardiovascular health, all of which are very important to obtain to be your best self!

Through my experience as an ACE Personal Trainer, I have felt and seen the same results from continuous movement and exercise. I will list some quick, “go-to” reference charts on how to exercise when you go out and live their lives. I referenced these charts out of the ACE, IDEA Fitness Journal, September 2016 Issue, pages 43-46. I will go over how to exercise for: chronic back pain, arthritis, older adults (but really everyone), and pregnancy. Reference to what applies to you. Remember this is very basic information, your unique situation applies only to you, so modify accordingly. You can go to https://www.acefitness.org/ for more information on exercise.

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Chronic Back Pain

  • For the best program development, identify the cause of back pain. For example, is it from overuse, injury/strain to muscle ligaments, or a spinal condition?
  • If you have access to a pool, use it. High frequency (5X a week) aquatic exercise, decreases levels of back pain and disability. (Baena-Beato et al. 2014)
  • Include core stability exercises for effective pain management. ( Wang et al. 2012)
  • Focus on strengthening lower back muscles in addition to working on core stability.
  • Consider incorporating Pilates, which can be very helpful for reducing pain and increasing core stability.

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  • Focus on exercises that improve functionality and pain management.
  • Because arthritis risk increases by 9%-13% for every 2 pounds of weight gain (Laskowski 2012), make weight loss a primary goal.
  • Choose water aerobics and deep water running as excellent ways to alleviate joint discomfort. Although swimming is also a great choice, proper swimming technique can be stressful on the spine and shoulders (Westby 2001). A study on the effectiveness of aquatic therapy indicated that a high- frequency routine of 5 sessions per week decreases levels of pain and disability, while improving body composition and quality of life. (Baene-Beato et al. 2014)
  • Encourage walking. It is a good form of aerobic conditioning for people with arthritis. (Westby 2001)
  • Incorporate  cycling, a very good exercise for this population. It is low impact and engages large muscle groups. Using toe clips will engage the hamstrings more, creating a better workout. (Westby 2001)

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Older Adults (but really everyone)

Cardiovascular Fitness

  • 30 minutes of moderate intensity 5 days per week.
  • 20 -25 minutes of high intensity at least 3 days per week.
  • 3,000-4,000 steps per day.

Weight Loss

  • For weight loss, the recommendation is 50 -60 minutes per day of cardiovascular exercise, 5X per week. Increase the time 5-10 minutes every 1-2 weeks until you reach 50 minutes. It is then beneficial to increase intensity and decrease duration.

Resistance Training, Balance and Flexibility

  • Program resistance training at least 2 days per week at a moderate to vigorous intensity. Design a progressive routine that use the major muscle groups; 8-10 exercises for 8-12 reps.
  • Incorporate stretching into your routine, holding each stretch for 60 seconds. Make sure to incorporate stretches at the end of your workout.
  • Incorporate balance exercises that include progressively difficult postures (one legged, heel stands and toe touches).

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  • Walk, run, jog
  • Swim
  • Practice Pilates and or yoga
  • Strength train (high reps/low weight, 1-2 sets of 12- 15 reps)
  • Engage in low impact aerobic exercise
  • Stay hydrated


  • Play contact sports
  • Engage in activities with a high risk of falling
  • Exercise in a hot and humid climate (hot yoga, outdoor workouts in summer, etc.)
  • Do twisting exercises or crunches
  • Make quick directional changes (loss of balance and joint hyper-mobility increase the risk of injury)
  • Stand motionless ( it decreases cardiac output)


I really hope this information helps! Please check with your doctor before starting any exercise program and I advise hiring a personal trainer or being referred to a physical therapist if need be. Have a blast moving and grooving you guys!

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