Looking to enhance your athletic performance? Whether your goal is to stretch farther, prevent injury, or simply reduce soreness, massage therapy can help. You don’t have to be a professional athlete to reap the benefits of massage in your fitness routine, either. The American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) has found that anyone who engages in exercise can benefit from massage therapy: “Massage can be used to improve athletic performance, speed recovery, and can be utilized by all individuals who participate in any athletic and/or exercise program to help improve conditioning and maintain peak performance.”
How can massage therapy improve your game?
1. Recover Quickly
After a particularly intense workout, massage therapy could be just what your body needs to recover quickly and prepare for your next training session. Exercise, however good for our health, can nevertheless lead to tension, swelling, soreness, fatigue, and stiffness in our muscles. It’s important to allow muscles to heal between sessions. Massage therapy can shorten this healing period by maximizing the delivery of nutrients to—and the removal of waste from—muscles through increased circulation. You may (still) feel sore after your massage: this is because massage therapy is essentially a passive workout. Don’t worry, though, your muscles will be ready for another good exertion in no time!
2. Take Deep Breaths
The most sought-after benefit of massage therapy is also one that can improve your athletic performance: relaxation. The therapeutic touch of massage triggers the release of “good” hormones, such as dopamine and serotonin, even while it lowers the body’s level of “bad” hormones, such as cortisol, which is associated with stress, tension, and anxiety. This hormone shift leaves you with a deep relaxation that will stay with you beyond the length of your session. It also has the benefit of lowering your blood pressure and heart rate! Channeling this relaxation during your workout can give you the comfort that you need to achieve new personal-bests.
3. Reach Farther
As massage stretches and lengthens muscle tissue, it expands the body’s range-of-motion. Take advantage of this bonus stretching-room by engaging in some light yoga after your session.
4. Avoid Injury
Keeping your muscles loose and limber through regular massage therapy can actually decrease your chances of acquiring injury during your workouts. Of course, even the best massage won’t make you invincible (Although, it may make you feel like you are afterward!). What massage therapy can do is relieve muscular tension, which can cause some of the most common exercise-related injuries. To give yourself your best chance of staying safe during exercise, practice caution and stay relaxed!
Which modality should you opt for to reap the most benefits in your athletic performance? We recommend requesting simple therapeutic massage for pre-workout sessions and deep tissue or sports massage post-workout. The key is to schedule regularly!
The talented team of massage therapists at Elements Massage South Mesa will tailor your massage to meet the needs of your fitness activities. Make massage therapy an integral part of your workout routine today!
Frey, K. A. (2013, February). Benefits of Massage for Athletes. Retrieved December 08, 2016, from http://www.healthfitnessmag.com/Health-Fitness-Magazine/February-2013/Benefits-Of-Massage-For-Athletes
Massage Therapy for Those Who Exercise. (2011, October). Retrieved December 08, 2016, from https://www.amtamassage.org/approved_position_statements/Massage-Therapy-for-Those-Who-Exercise.html