Did you know that getting a massage before your sport can have just as many, if not more, advantages than a post-injury massage? Getting a sports massage before you run or play a sport can help you prevent injury by preparing your body for an intense workout.
It’s common for many athletes to see a massage therapist when they have an injury, pain, or stiffness after their sport, event, or another vigorous workout. While post-sport massages are important and can support healing, you can help prevent injury (or decrease injury severity) by getting a sports massage before your event.
Here are a few reasons why you might want to book a sports massage before your sport or exercise:
Relaxes muscles to reduce stiffness
If you have a past injury, it can become re-aggravated when you exercise again, even if you feel that the pain is gone. The muscles and tendons around already injured areas may be tense and stiff. Most physical sports require your muscles and tendons to be limber enough to stretch beyond everyday use. If they’re tense, they won’t stretch as far and can buckle in the stress during an intense workout.
A sports massage therapist can massage to increase blood circulation in your body. This better-circulated blood is better able to get oxygen and nutrients to damaged muscles faster, so they relax and have less likelihood of being re-injured.
Provides pain relief
Pain relief is a key benefit of sports massages. As you train for your event, you may notice increased muscle pain or strain. Some athletes report that a slight tweak in the wrong direction can cause spasms and cramping. Not only is cramping painful, but it will prevent you from exercising until they are gone.
Regular massages during physical training can help loosen and lengthen your muscles so you experience fewer spasms and cramping unexpectedly. A massage can also block the nerve fibres that send pain messages to and from your brain.
Speeds up recovery time
When carbonic or lactic acid builds up in your muscles after exercise, it can cause your muscles and joints to feel stiff and sore. Fast healing requires flushing these acids from your joints and expelling them from your body. This can be accomplished much faster with a well-functioning lymphatic system.
Your lymphatic system is like your body’s “sewer system” and is used to:
- Manage fluid levels in your body
- Expel unwanted substances from your body, including fluids that leak out of your blood vessels
- Carry cells and antibodies around your body to protect against infection and disease.
- Absorb fats from your intestine.
Massage can ensure your lymphatic system is clear (without blockages), so it can more efficiently eliminate waste lactic and carbonic acid in your joints, aiding in faster recovery after intense exercise. With a sports massage, you can increase your range of motion to reduce excess muscle tension during and after your workout.
Improves your posture
A lesser-known fact about sports massages is that they can help improve your posture. Massages help gently stretch your muscles so they have an increased range of motion throughout the massaged areas and your body as a whole.
When your body’s muscles are balanced, it leads to better posture. With better posture, you often have better stances and efficient body movements when doing physical activities and sports. In turn, when you’re more efficiently moving your body during exercise, you can reduce the risk of posture-related sports injuries.
Supports good mental health and relaxation
Athletes know that physical ability is only part of the game. The mental side is just as critical to your success. If your mind is distracted or you’re experiencing nervousness or anxiety, it can affect your performance. When your mind or body is under stress, you’ll notice a decrease in your athletic performance because your body is diverting its energy to healing the stress.
A sports massage stimulates your parasympathetic system, the body’s system responsible for all other bodily systems, so your mind and body can be free from stress and distraction.
How is a sports massage different from a traditional spa massage?
A sports massage, while similar, is not the same as a traditional massage you’d get from a registered massage therapist or at the spa. Sports massages are usually faster-paced massages that include stretching and other methods to prepare the body for rigorous physical activity. The actual massage approaches used in a sports massage will vary depending on the sport you’re doing and where you may have a history of injury.
When to book a sports massage
Book a consultation with a sports massage specialist who can advise on the frequency you should see your massage therapist. It will differ depending on the sport, your fitness level, and your preexisting history of injuries. Likely, you’ll see your sports massage therapist regularly throughout your training session and again after your sport.
Oceana Massage can help prepare your mind and body for sports and extreme exercise with sports massages. Book your appointment today to learn how regular sports massages can increase your athletic performance and help you avoid injury.