While watching March Madness, you may wonder how your favorite athletes are able to go from game to game and still play their best. After giving 100 percent to the game, it’s no easy feat to do it all again only a few days later. However, many athletes incorporate sports massage into their routine, which helps them recover quickly and stay in top shape. No matter what kind of activities you do, from golf and swimming to yoga and running, you can benefit from a sports massage.
A sports massage is a type of Swedish massage that is centered around muscles that are sore and overused from recreational activity. The sports massage technique focuses on the specific muscles used during whatever sport the athlete plays and varies according to the activity. For example, if you are a basketball player, your massage therapist would focus on your legs, arms and shoulders, while a swimmer’s massage would focus on the chest and upper back.
Sports massage has become a regular practice in sports due to the belief that massage can bring relief to sore athletes by reducing muscle tension, increasing blood flow and improving their overall sense of well-being.
For many athletes, a regular sports massage has become a vital tool in the recovery process, but it also helps with more than just relieving sore muscles. For example, specifically designed sports massages can help prevent injuries, promote flexibility, improve endurance, reduce muscle stiffness and improve relaxation by reducing heart rate and blood pressure.
McMaster University recently conducted a study that suggested that a massage after a vigorous workout not only helped with muscle soreness but also may have made the exercise session more effective. The study had a group of males participate in 70 minutes of strenuous exercise on stationary bikes immediately followed by a 10-minute massage on one leg. Scientists then looked at the biopsies of the leg that was massaged and concluded that cellular signaling, which leads to an increase in the number of mitochondria in the muscle fibers involved in the workouts, increased due to the massage. Having a lot of mitochondria in your muscle cells is associated with increased stamina during cardiovascular activities, which means that you can endure working out for a longer period of time.
A post-game massage is beneficial to athletes because it helps their sore muscles recover and increases circulation to remove toxins. However, a pre-game massage is just as helpful because it can help warm up muscles in preparation for a game.
You don’t need to be a basketball player to feel the results of a sports massage. Whether you’re on the office softball team, play golf on the weekends, or enjoy swimming, anyone who participates in physical activity can benefit from a sports massage. FBN
Mark Love is co-owner of Massage Envy Flagstaff. For more information on the benefits of massage, go to MassageEnvy.com or Facebook.com/MEFlag.
For additional information or to schedule an appointment with an esthetician or massage therapist, visit massageenvy.com, call 928-526-ENVY (3689), or visit one of Arizona’s 32 Massage Envy locations. The Flagstaff location is at 1235 S. Plaza Way in the University Plaza Shopping Center off Milton Road next to Ross and Safeway.