Athletes are often encouraged to use sports massage to help with pain, and to improve injury recovery rates. These are certainly two excellent reasons to add massage to your training routine, but they certainly aren’t the only ones. There are several very good reasons that elite athletes employ the services of qualified massage therapists. Below, we’ll explore the benefits of a well-executed sports massage.
Sports Massage Reduces Tension
When an athlete pushes their body beyond its normal point of exertion, that can lead to tension in the muscles and other soft tissues. You may even develop knots or trigger points. Exercise also leads to the production of lactic acid which causes those all over, post-workout muscle aches. It is for these reasons that you often feel stiff and sore after events and workouts.
Athletes can use sports massage to help them to obtain relief from muscle tension. In addition to this, massage can also mitigate the risk of future injuries relating to overuse during workouts and athletic events. The kneading and pressure of massage allows your muscles to relax, and you will feel the release of tension that can impact recovery and performance.
You’ll Notice Improved Posture
Sports massage isn’t just for the hardcore athlete. Anyone who is in a position to overuse their muscles, or who engages in repetitive motions is susceptible to soft tissue injuries such as muscle strains. Even spending time at your desk can lead to the shortening of muscle fibers that cause poor posture and loss of motion.
Sports massage is the perfect tool to counteract this. It can release muscle tension, lengthen muscle fibers, and restore your range of motion. This leads to better posture, and reduces the risk of repetitive stress injuries.
It Leads to Increased Mobility
Two of the key aims of sports massage are reducing restriction and boosting elasticity. Both of these lead to increased mobility and flexibility. This is extraordinarily important for athletes who frequently demand more of their bodies than most others.
As an athlete, when you are more flexible, you gain a real advantage when it comes to athletic performance. In addition to this, you are less likely to injure yourself from overextending. You’ll also recover more rapidly after workouts and games.
You Can Use Massage Therapy For Pain Management
Pain is simply part of being an athlete. However, that doesn’t mean that you cannot or should not take steps to minimize and prevent it. This is where massage is truly beneficial.
Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, or DOMS is the muscle pain you feel a day or two after a workout or event. A good, sports massage therapist can help you to ease the symptoms of DOMS by promoting the flow of blood and lymphatic fluids through your muscles. This increases the amount of oxygen going to your muscle tissues, and helps to reduce muscle fatigue.
Finally, massage therapy leads to the release of endorphins. These are one of your body’s pleasure causing hormones. It’s why you likely feel happier, and more relaxed after a good massage. Endorphins are also a very effective pain killer.
Sports Massage Promotes Relaxation
Your body has sensory receptors that respond to physical touch. These are called mechanoreceptors. When you get a massage, these receptors are activated. Your body produces endorphins as mentioned above. In addition to this, you relax, and experience an enhanced mood. In layman’s terms, massage feels good. This is even true for the intense, occasionally painful sports massage.
Why is this important? Your athletic performance is very much impacted by your state of mind. Anxiety and stress can cause you to lose focus just when you need to be at your best. If you incorporate massage you just might experience reduced anxiety, less stress, and improved state of mind. This can help you to meet your athletic challenges feeling recharged, and improve your outcomes.
Sports Massage Enhances Athletic Performance
Whether you are a professional athlete, weekend warrior, student jock, or someone who is beginning a new fitness effort, you are asking more of your body than the average person. There are things you must do to ensure that your performance is what you need it to be, and that your performance improves over time.
Smart athletes create and stick to helpful protocols when it comes to diet, exercise, rest, even taking supplements. The purpose of this is to maximize their performance. You can add sports massage to your current routines to further benefit your performance in the gym or on the field.
Think of it like this, an athlete is a bit like a high performance vehicle. They are capable of great performance, but only if they are properly maintained. That requires a dedicated effort, as well as an investment of time and resources. Just like you wouldn’t expect a high performance car to work well if you treated it like a Nissan Sentra, you cannot expect an athlete to perform well if you don’t take extra steps to ensure your well-being.
If you are an athlete at any level, you can only benefit from adding massage to your overall program. Find a qualified, sports massage therapist, and you will enjoy benefits that include pain reduction, increased range of motion, better mental condition, improved performance, and more flexibility. Combined, all of these things can help you to gain a competitive edge, and help you to reach your fitness goals.