Change Your Life
Change Your Life
This would probably be my favorite topic when an active person is thinking about getting a massage. As a kick-boxer, yoga enthusiast, biker, and walker, I am very motivated to feel good enough to always be able to do these activities. One way obviously, to make sure this happens is to DO these activities on a consistent basis. Another important way is to get massage or bodywork treatments regularly, to help my body heal from these activities, to rejuvenate my muscles, ligaments and joints, and to relax my mind and psyche so that I’m ready to go again.
One thing that I’ve learned in my studies since I’ve become an LMT, is that if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. This is a cliche however, a lot of people either 1) don’t believe it, 2) have never experienced it, or 3) don’t care about it.
Here are several reasons why massage will enhance your exercise performance.
Reason # 1: It literally strengthens your muscles so that they are strong. Strong muscles perform better than weak muscles do.
When muscles become rigid, tonic and tight, they can get to the point where they are unable to take in oxygen and nutrition that is being distributed by the bloodstream. When this happens, it would be like you or me not ever taking a break from work, not sleeping, eating or drinking, just going and going, hour after hour, day after day. You think, “Well, I would just collapse after a while,” and so we would. Similarly, muscles get to a point where, if they never get a chance to wind down, relax, “eat” or “drink” (receive nutrition and oxygen), they get extremely fatigued. When this happens, they start to hurt. This is the body’s way of sending a red flag that something needs to be done.
And so you think, “Well, I sleep every night, they get their rest then.” Unfortunately, just because you’re relaxed and sleeping, doesn’t mean your muscles are, too. When a muscle is overworked, from constant use, or improper use, it can get to the point where it is always “on”. Meaning that those muscles have forgotten how to “let go”. They are always in a “ready to go” mode, because they perceive that their services will be called upon at any moment, and they don’t have the luxury to relax, because they might not be ready. Thus, they are tight and contracted all the time and become stiff, painful and rigid.
When the muscles release and then have access to the oxygen and nutrients that the bloodstream provides, it’s like giving them food, water and a great night’s sleep. It rejuvenates them, lightens and lengthens them, and gives them more strength than before. They are now rested, strong and ready to go.
Reason #2: Improves muscle flexibility to increase performance during exercise.
What do exercisers rely on? Strong, pliable, flexible muscles to perform for them when they are doing their exercise or activity of choice. Doesn’t matter what the exercise is, it can be anything from swimming to golfing, biking to karate. Relaxed, rested and nutrient dense muscles will, and do, perform better than contracted, fatigued and exhausted muscles do.
When you get a good massage, the tight and rigid muscle fibers are released. When that happens, the muscles actually become longer. Instead of being tight and contracted, they are able to relax back into their natural resting length. This obviously helps to increase flexibility when the muscle starts at a longer length to begin with.
Reason #3: Massage helps soothe stiff, painful, rigid muscles.
Oftentimes the best way, and sometimes the only way, to get those muscles to remember how to relax is to manually manipulate them (massage them) to release those contracted fibers. It can be painful to do this, but it doesn’t have to be. There are many therapists who can, and do, release muscles without pain to the client.
The right therapist can release your stiff, painful muscles and you will feel the results immediately.
Reason #4: It helps with post workout recovery.
You do not want to have a massage too close to the start of your workout. Your workout will simply tighten up all the releasing that has been done and negate the positive effects of the massage. A massage a couple of days before a big race, competition or activity, however, can definitely improve performance in a big way.
After a large competition or race, however, a massage can be very effective. Your muscles will love the attention, you’ll be able to relax into the massage, heal faster, recover faster and feel so much better.
Reason #5: It helps with mental acuity, positive thinking, and all those hormones that are released when you take care of yourself.
Just as regular exercise releases “feel good” hormones, massage does the same thing. Whenever you manipulate, exercise, or use your muscles, those hormones are released. This can and does improve mental acuity, positive thinking, and feel good brain activity. It’s a really great way to balance the stress you’ve put your muscles through by giving them a great workout. You don’t have to get a massage after every workout, of course, but a regular session will keep your muscles and you happy and balanced. In more ways than one, as described in this post.
Not only will you feel better mentally and emotionally, but you will have the desire to exercise more and take better care of yourself. What more could you ask for?
Hi, my name is Loraine. Do you wake up tired, achy and stiff from a restless, sleepless night? Do painful muscles keep you from doing what you want to do? Do you want your "old" self-back? I can help. I will remove layers of tension, stress and anxiety, so you can function and feel better than ever. You will feel results in your very first session with little to no pain or discomfort. Come see me soon! I would love to meet you and help you truly let go of it all.