Spring is Just Around the Corner. Are you in shape?
Spring is just around the corner. With spring comes an increase in our general activity levels. Are you in shape for spring and summer?
In this line of work, I am constantly reminded of how we take our bodies for granted. Recently, I was working the San Dieguito Half-Marathon, as a member of the San Diego Sports Massage Team, when a man hobbled in for help. He was entered in the race, and started with the rest of his group but made it no further than 100 yards. Why? He had had nothing to eat or drink that morning. His muscles could not function under the load he placed on them and began to cramp and spasm. He was dehydrated and under nourished for what he asked his body to do. This middle aged man apparently forgot he was no longer 20, with a young man’s endurance.
Last year, I was called in to help a man following the Rock and Roll Marathon. While he finished the 26 mile race, he damaged his muscles doing so. He just couldn’t find the time to train before the race, and was an intermittent runner at best. Without any training or preparation, he went out and ran 26 miles. Because his muscles were totally unprepared for that level of exertion, something had to give, and tiny tears occurred throughout his musculature as he continued to overload them. This guy did not even have the presence of mind to get a post-event massage, and, in fact, did not come in for a massage for more than a week following the race, when scar tissue in the muscles was becoming more and more advanced.
These two examples are extreme, but illustrate how much we take our health and our bodies for granted. Don’t be like one of these week-end warriors, who assumes that his body will handle anything he asks of it without proper preparation, hydration and nourishment.
Excessive repetitive motion can cause a tightening of muscles and soft tissues, blocking the normal circulatory flow of blood to that area. Metabolic wastes and toxins become embedded in the tissues resulting in a state of toxicity that impedes peak performance and causes discomfort. When muscles become excessively tight, flexibility, relaxation and muscle balance are all affected. Tight muscles are the result of overuse, excessive stress and the accumulation of wear and tear on tissue that is unable to withstand continual overload, and can distort or disturb physical integrity and cause postural compensation that can result in chronic pain.
In our sedentary society, it’s easy to overdo when we tackle a weekend softball game, or a game of touch football. Even a weekend hike on a beautiful spring day may be too much for the condition you’re in following a winter of inactivity.
If you overdo it, don’t forget that massage can help your recovery. Or, better yet, start a regular regimen of massage to help keep you functioning at your optimal best and help prevent any injuries from occurring.