Do hill repeats, long runs/rides, brick workouts or lap swims fill your summer training calendar? Are your upcoming weekends full of family hikes, golf tournaments, beach volleyball games or family camping trips? If so, then regularly scheduled massage therapy sessions should be an essential element to your active lifestyle. Whether you are a seasoned marathoner, weekend warrior, activity enthusiast or your ultimate goal is to finish your first 5k, incorporating massage into your summer routine will not only revive your health and well-being, but get you to the start (and finish!) line healthy and happy.
According to 2010 research published by the National Strength and Conditioning Association, massage to support a healthy lifestyle dates back to early civilization and it is a common technique today for the management and prevention of sport injuries*. Massage also has been used to successfully increase flexibility and provide a greater range of motion.
To prepare you for your active summer lifestyle, we offer the following tips for feeling restored, pain free and vibrant as you trade in your suit and high heels at the end of the workweek for athletic gear and fun-filled weekend adventures.
TREK DOWN THE TRAINING TRAIL
Just as every training program lays out a master plan for you to succeed in your big summer race, event or tournament series, don’t forget the most important element to any training schedule – regularly scheduled therapeutic massages to repair your tired, tense muscles and relax your training-focused, wired brain. A highly skilled massage therapist can be an extremely valuable member of your training team by helping you reduce the risk of injury, flush out toxins from your body, lengthen and stretch tight muscles and minimize the longevity of injuries.
Experts agree that if you treat common overuse injuries (sore ankles, tight back, sore shoulders and tight hamstrings, for example) with massage as soon as you feel the first muscle tweak or pain, you will be more likely to keep your training schedule on course, while setting up your body and mind for a successful summer event.
Suggested Massage Techniques during Training: Deep Tissue Massage or Sports Massage
LOOSEN UP PRE-EVENT JITTERS
Before you lace up your shoes and pack your gear for your big summer event, prepare your muscles for the strain and intensity of the planned activity by scheduling a therapeutic massage 2-3 days prior to the event date. The goal of this massage is to release tension in your muscles without leaving them sore, as well as reduce any pre-event stress or anxiety so that you can maintain a positive mental focus on race day. Your massage therapist will loosen any last minute muscle kinks and warm up muscles to prepare you for a successful event.
Suggested Massage Techniques Prior to Event: Swedish Massage
CELEBRATE YOUR EVENT SUCCESS
You’ve trained hard, raced hard, played hard and now it’s time to treat yourself to an after-event massage. Instead of waiting in a 25-person deep line for an on-site post-event massage that only lasts five minutes, schedule at least an hour long massage for the day or two following your event. The goal of this massage is to help your muscles recover from the strenuous activity, as well as improve your body’s range of motion and reduce any spasms or cramping that may have been caused by the event. You will be better hydrated 24-48 hours following the event and will have more time to enjoy the fruits of your labor as your mind and body relax and unwind through the healing touch of a highly skilled massage therapist.
Suggested Massage Techniques Following the Event: Deep Tissue Massage
Elements Therapeutic Massage looks forward to partnering with you this summer to help you achieve your goals of living an active, vibrant lifestyle.
*J Strength Cond Res 24(7): 1917-1924, 2010.