Many athletes put a lot of time each day into training their bodies and skills so that they can be the best athlete possible. Unfortunately, there are few athletes who take the appropriate time to take care of their bodies in the down time. This is much more important than many athletes realize. By not allowing your body to replenish and recover properly, you can expect to see less benefit from your training, as well as be more prone to injury.
One of the best ways to optimize your down time is by scheduling regular sports massages at least once per month. Almost every Olympic athlete has sports massage and physical therapy as part of their daily routine which helps them achieve almost inhuman athletic feats. Give yourself a competitive edge and book an appointment with Colorado Massage in Pueblo today!
What Is a Sports Massage?
Sports massage is a form of massage that focuses less on relaxation and more on recovery. It employs strategies and techniques aimed at helping the junctions of muscles and tendons that can get injured and worn out from aggressive and repetitive motions. Implementing sports massages into your training regimen is an excellent way to keep your body at its peak.
What Are the Benefits of Sports Massage Therapy?
There are many benefits that an athlete can see from sports massage. Here is a list of just a few ways sports massage can help athletes perform at their peak:
- Reduced risk of injury
- Improved flexibility
- Increased range of motion in joints
- Increased sense of well-being
- Decreased muscle tension
- Decreased recovery time between workouts
- Less muscle spasms
- More relaxed nerves
- Better blood flow
- Better sleep
How Can I Make the Most of My Sports Massage?
While the benefits of receiving a sports massage are many, it is possible to amplify these benefits by properly preparing your body beforehand. The following are tips on how to make the most of your sports massage:
Keep Your Body Well Hydrated
Dehydration can be a major deterrent to having a good massage. Not having enough water in your system can lead to your fascia and muscles stiffening which can cause your massage to be more painful than it should be. Make sure you are drinking lots of water in the days leading up to, and the day of your massage.
Eat Light the Day-Of Your Massage
On the day of your scheduled massage, make sure you do not eat a heavy meal before coming in. There is the obvious reason that you will likely experience discomfort from laying on a belly full of food. However, you can also feel additional discomfort because massages slow down your body’s systems — including your digestive system. This means that getting a massage with a belly full of carbs may lead to getting a stomach ache while you’re on the table. There is nothing wrong with eating a heavy meal after a massage, so if you have a heavy appetite, make sure to save the big meal for after your massage.
Set Correct Expectations
Sports massages are no joke. Depending on how sore your muscles are beforehand or whether or not you are trying to recover from an injury, a sports massage can potentially be hard work. Like we said before, the purpose of a sports massage is to help your body recover, not relax. At Colorado Massage, we offer many other services that can help you find a deep relaxation if that is your intention. But, if your intention is to help your body recover so that you can be a more effective athlete, be prepared to get up, move around, and work with your massage therapist.
Talk to Your Doctor
If you have recently had a serious injury, we recommend speaking with your doctor and getting a diagnosis before scheduling a sports massage. It is not part of the massage therapists’ discipline to diagnose serious injury. Once you have had an appointment with your regular physician, ask them if they think massage therapy would be an appropriate treatment. It’s possible they may recommend it without you asking, but it’s important to get their opinion first when dealing with injuries. It is also tremendously helpful for the massage therapist to be armed with that diagnosis to inform them on how they should go about helping you in your recovery.
It is Normal to be Sore Afterwards
After receiving a sports massage, it is very normal to experience some soreness — sometimes even a lot of soreness. Take note of where you are feeling sore as this can be a useful observation in revealing areas of weakness that can be focused on next time you come in. Typically within 48 hours, this soreness and tightness should go away and you will feel like your body has been given an upgrade.
Do Not Workout Immediately After
Many doctors and personal trainers have advised that training immediately after an intense sports massage is counter productive. Take the time to allow your body to heal and process what has happened. We recommend waiting at least until the next day before getting back at it.
Take A Bath
If you are worried about being sore for the next day or two, one way to mitigate this is by soaking in the tub after. By allowing your body to soak in a tub full of hot water mixed with epsom salt or possibly some essential oils, you can continue the cleansing process as well as give your muscles a chance to relax and recover.
Consider Implementing Regular Massages Into Your Training
By receiving regular sports massages, you can work with our massage therapists to identify tight areas and work through that tightness over time. Even if you can only schedule one 30-minute session per month, you can prevent injury and overtraining of your muscles.
When it comes to sports massage, think of these sessions as an investment. By keeping your body limber and loose, you will be able to perform at your peak for much longer and stay away from costly medical bills. Call Colorado Massage today to start your first sports massage.