Massage Enhances Athletic Performance
You might think of massage as a soothing way to relax after a stressful week, which is true. But you may not be aware of the positive benefits massage therapy can offer to athletes -- whether you walk five or six miles a week to stay in shape or compete in the Ironman triathlon, one of the most grueling tests of human endurance.
The effects of massage therapy on athletic performance aren’t merely anecdotal. According to Margaret Jones, Ph.D., a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine, a study she conducted demonstrated a notable reduction in muscle soreness in athletes who received massage either before or after exercise.
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.
Regular massage therapy is preventative; athletes are less prone to injury and recover more quickly. Massage also helps athletes’ flexibility which pays big dividends during training and performance events.
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.