Today, I’m going to take a minor detour…kind of. I’m going to address the importance of sports massage.
Whether you’re a weekend warrior, a professional athlete or an active individual who works hard to stay fit, sports massage can do far more than provide a feeling of pleasure or relief for the overworked body-he can rejuvenate body, mind and spirit.
Take Dora Torres for example. During her training for the Olympics she received daily attention from a couple of experts that stretch and massage her in innovative and brutally painful ways.
A body that regenerates quickly and moves smoothly come next workout.
Her workouts make sure the same muscles get worked out differently each time. Her massage/stretch team makes sure her muscles get the maximal recovery. Her reduced swim load means she gets to practice her technique but not reach a point where she is overtraining. Which by the way, is where the majority of professional athletes are right now.
Dora’s number 1 training secret…. Get a massage on a regular basis. If you build up the waste in your muscles, you have to be able to remove the waste from your muscles.
Pretty Simple equation, right?
What Sports Massage Can Do For You
Athletes around the world and at all levels of ability and accomplishments now rely on massage as an indispensable part of their training programs. Studies in the United States, Australia and Russia all have shown that sports massage techniques, when used as a regular part of a regimented training program, increases the blood flow that is vital to recovery, improve the range of motion and strength of injured muscles and accelerate gain speed muscle strength.
How Sports Massage Helps You
What’s the difference between regular massage and sports massage? Basically, non-sports massage is more superficial and does not target specific muscle groups that are used in sports activity.
In sports massage, the techniques are designed to benefit muscles by warming and softening tissue, realigning muscle fibers, helping to heal scar tissue flushing toxins from specific muscles. A regular massage may relax you and make you feel great, but it won’t specifically benefit the muscles or body parts that you’ve stressed in your workout.
A partial summary of the benefits of a regular sports massage are:
- Help identify tender areas before they developed into injuries
- Enhance overall body awareness
- Stretch and relax muscles
- Relieve muscle pain and spasms
- Free muscle adhesions and softens scar tissue caused by injury
- Improve range of motion
- Restore suppleness and elasticity
- Improve circulation of blood and lymph fluids
- Flush out toxins that cause muscle stiffness and soreness
- Speed recovery from muscular exertion
- Relax the mind and body
Overuse injuries are a fact. Regular sports massage restores the length and suppleness of muscles that become tight and tense from physical exertion. Additionally, micro-tears in the muscles from training heal faster because massage aid circulation of blood and nutrients and enables the body to adapt to increased workloads.
And long before any injury becomes painful, probing required in sports massage may help detect stress areas before they become chronic problems. In short, sports massage keeps muscles healthy and flexible, so tears and strains are less likely.
Any athlete who cross-trains knows that increased workouts lead to improved performance, but some neglect and equally important area – recovery. With full recovery, you’ll be able to push previous boundaries and adapt to a new level of stress.
Why carry your soreness and stiffness from your last workouts with you? Why not take measures now to speed recovery from your efforts or you can reach a higher level in your next workout? Sports massage provides the secret weapons for complete recovery.
While many athletes are convinced of the physical benefit of massage, research on its effectiveness is accumulating. Massage involves applying mechanical pressure to the soft tissues, and this is has been linked with improved muscle flexibility, increased range of motion in the joints, and decreased muscle stiffness.
Recently, researchers at McMaster University reported that deep massage after an intense workout actually causes muscles to enlarge and grow new mitochondria. Mitochondira, the powerhouses of our cells, are responsible for converting nutrients into useful energy.
Finally, nothing is more essential to positive change in mindset, self-esteem, self-awareness and self-confidence. Massage is a direct way to increase total body awareness-and it feels great.
Other ways for recovery and developing a winning mindset are discussed in Mental Strength Training for Athletes.
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