Anyone participating in sport or exercise regime knows that a good training programme is imperative if you are going to put in a good performance-and recover quickly afterwards- no matter what level of the sport you are involved in.
It is well known that an effective warm up and cool down are important to avoid injury and enable a better performance but do people consider sports massage as part of their normal routine?
It is well understood that professional sportsman use sports massage as a vital part of their regime. During the London 2012 Olympics, sports massage accounted for 36 per cent of treatment provided to athletes, second only to physiotherapy. But sports massage is not just for the elite athlete. It can benefit us all. Many of the stresses people place on their bodies is due to their job. For example sitting at a desk for 8 hours a day will place prolonged stress on the body. If that is followed by an hour of intense exercise at the gym it is clear the effects that sort of lifestyle could have.
The healing properties of a good sports massage can help revitalise the muscles, ligaments and other soft tissues of us all. After all, an injury can disrupt your general lifestyle and work as well as your sport. Most people just don’t have the time to rest and rehabilitate effectively as they need to still fit in a job as well as their sporting activities.
A sport massage can help you fulfil your potential in many ways-even at work.
This becomes even more important as you get older. The body changes with age, not just externally but internally too: mobility declines, muscle mass reduces and recovery naturally slows down.
A sports massage is not one of the general relaxing massages you may have experienced in a spa or beauty salon. Nor is it excruciatingly painful.
A good sports massage will target the areas of the body that need it and incorporate a variety of massage techniques suitable for someone’s tissue type, age, fitness etc.
Our muscles work in harmony with one another and not in isolation. As one muscle contracts an opposite one needs to lengthen and relax. Any imbalance in that relationship can cause some muscles to become stretched and weaker and others shorter and stronger. This is known as a muscle imbalance and the forces it produces on the body can lead to pain and injury.
As well as exercise and stretching sports massage is important to help release and lengthen those short, tight muscles and reduce the uneven stresses to joints and other tissues.
We are all familiar with that aching or sometimes disabling pain that sets in the day or two after exercise. As well as a build-up of toxins like lactic acid due to a decreased blood flow through the muscles it is also caused by micro trauma or tears to the muscle fibres.
These effects are damaging to tissue and require time to recover and regenerate which obviously interferes with any training programme.
A sports massage after exercise will work deep into the tissue, warming up the muscles, stretching the fascia (connective tissue that joins and connects different muscles) resulting in healthy, pliable muscles.
It also increases the blood flow to tissues bringing in fresh oxygenated blood not just to muscles but ligaments and tendons also. Sports massage also helps move and drain any build-up of lymph which can collect around joints and between layers of tissue causes swelling and puffiness.
Combined with a safe and effective exercise routine a regular sports massage can help keep your body strong and flexible, reducing injuries and improving performance.
For more information on how sports massage could help benefit your exercise regime and lifestyle, contact Physio Answers today on 0203 538 3808 or send us a query via our web form.
We will be more than happy to answer any questions or discuss your needs in further detail.
No matter how or why you exercise Physio Answers can offer you all the hands-on support and relief you need!
Here at Physio Answers, we offer a free physiotherapy ‘pre-assessment’ and discussion to see if physiotherapy is the right treatment for you. If you would like to find out more, you can visit our pre-assessment page here
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