Taking good care of your body is one of the best forms of preventative medicine that you have at your disposal. Diet and exercise truly are the keys to unlocking your health, enhancing your body, and clearing your mind for whatever daily challenges you may face. It will make you more resilient to illness, disease, depression, and it will make you sleep better at night. If you already exercise regularly, you are hopefully reaping the physical and mental health benefits of physical activity. Challenging your body is an important part of progression in exercise routines. Sportspeople and fitness enthusiasts often experience soreness after a challenging and productive workout. Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) is a symptom of exercise usually experienced 24-48 hours after the event.
Exercise is a massive piece of your total health equation, but so is recovery. Your body needs ample time to recover so that it can continue to perform at optimal capacity for your next workout, event, or physical challenge. In this article, we’ll take a look at some methods of speeding recovery and reducing soreness from exercise.
Quality recovery from sports activity
Soreness might be localized to the part of the body most in use during exercise but whether you
- Lift weights recreationally or for your health every week
- Do any kind of resistance training, body weight, or callisthenics
- Are a regular runner
- Are a cyclist
- Take cardio or strength and conditioning classes at your gym or regularly compete in 5ks, 10ks, half or full marathons, triathlons, obstacle course races, or lifting competition
you need to make sure that you are getting enough, quality recovery with your training. Whether you are a casual runner and lifter or a hardcore competitor, scheduling recovery is crucial for injury prevention and athletic performance.
Here are some examples of how you can recover from training:
- Rest days or time off
- Tapering your workout schedule
- Self-myofascial release or foam rolling
- Ice baths, cold exposure and/or cryotherapy
- Getting enough quality sleep every night
- Sports massages
- Deep tissue massages
Sports massages and deep tissue massages are awesome for exercise recovery. If you haven’t thought about trying massage before we’d recommend booking an appointment before your next event or heavy training session. Once you’ve experienced the benefits of good massage therapy that targets your sore muscles you’ll be glad you made that appointment.
Muscular strains in Athletes and Active People
If you exercise consistently at all, for any lengthy period of time, the chances are that you have already experienced some kind of sports injury. Whether it’s a simple muscle cramp or pull, general muscular tightness, a tear in soft tissues, or a breaking of bones, injuries are bound to happen at some point when you are active, and most of us have experienced them.
Exercise is an incredible form of preventative medicine, but like anything else, it comes with some costs which include the occasional strain, pull, or overuse injury. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways and precautions that you can take to prevent injury and improve performance in training, and getting sports massages are perfect for that.
Benefits of Sports Massage and Deep Tissue Massages
Massages aren’t only for elite sportspeople. Nor are they a recreational activity for affluent communities. The many sports massage benefits for normal recreational and suburban athletes make them a worthwhile investment for everyone.
1. Improved Exercise Recovery
If you have been exercising for one week or 20 years, you are probably familiar with the phenomenon known as delayed onset muscle soreness, commonly known as DOMS syndrome. DOMS is caused predominantly by the eccentric portion of an exercise. It is often worse after you have done a new or unfamiliar exercise to your body for the first time.
DOMS can be miserable and debilitating when you are trying to workout multiple days in a row, or just multiple days throughout the week. The good news is that sports massages have been tested and indicated to reduce muscle swelling and soreness caused by DOMS by up to 30%.
2. Improved training volume and capacity
Since massage therapy can help decrease the pain and swelling experienced with DOMS, that means that you can train more often, for longer periods, and at higher volumes that you could normally. Massaging the muscles and hammering out the tightness that is caused in your muscles from regular repetitive exercise, can dramatically increase your ability to perform at full capacity during exercise and extend the amount that you are able to train. If you like to or need to train more often for an event that you have coming up, sports massages can significantly improve your recovery time which will allow you to train more frequently and push yourself more.
3. Removal of toxins and waste products
Breaking up the adhesions in your muscle tissue allow your body to get more oxygen-carrying blood vessels to your muscles and extremities. In turn, that improved oxygen flow allows for increased nutrient and blood flow for your body to purge harmful and limiting toxins from your body that may hinder performance, recovery, and general muscular function.
4. Increased circulation
Increased circulation is another awesome benefit of regular massages. The increase in your muscular and cardiovascular circulation is what eliminates toxins, improves performance, and accelerates the recovery time that you need between training sessions or workouts.
5. Injury prevention
Regular sports massages are directly linked to injury prevention for those injuries that are commonly associated with regular exercise. The times that injuries most commonly occur are when:
- A muscle or joint is overused
- A muscle is cold before engaging in demanding exercise
- When a movement or exercise is performed incorrectly
By increasing the blood and oxygen flow to your muscles and joints, you will increase the amount of muscular activation during exercise. This helps prevent injury.
6. Improved flexibility and mobility
This goes hand in hand with improving exercise performance, recovery, and preventing injury. When you exercise regularly, your body is constantly going through the process of muscular catabolism, or the breaking down or tearing of muscle tissue. This is followed by muscular anabolism, which is used to describe the rebuilding of muscular tissues to make them stronger and more energy efficient.
When your muscles go through the cycle of catabolism and anabolism regularly you are actually tearing your muscle tissue continuously. This can cause a buildup of adhesions and scar tissue on the muscle. This buildup of scar tissue is what limits the range at which our muscles can stretch, which will inevitably lead to a decrease in flexibility and range of motion.
Because sports massages are a manual way of breaking up the scar tissue and adhesions that have been growing on your muscles, you will be able to preserve and even increase your muscle flexibility and joint mobility.
Differences Between Sports Massages and Other Types of Massage Techniques
Swedish massage is the most common type of massage that people are typically referring to when talking about massage therapy. The Swedish form uses a combination of three primary massage movements to alleviate tension and muscular stress which includes
- Effleurage: long sweeping strokes that are used to initiate and conclude the therapy
- Petrissage: the kneading or rolling out of muscles that would be similar to using a rolling pin or foam roller
- Friction that is caused by direct, acute pressure from the thumb, fingers, and knuckles
- Percussive movements like chopping rhythmic tapping, or even pounding out muscles
Swedish massages are commonly used for general stress relief. They a way to relax, relieving general muscular tension or tightness.
Deep Tissue Massage
Deep tissue is a very intense form of muscular manipulation where your therapist applies deep and direct pressure on specific trouble areas. Deep tissue massage can feel like quite intense because of the amount of pressure that is being applied to areas that are already sore. These massages themselves will often leave you feeling sore afterward.
Your therapist will use their knuckles and elbows to press into the muscles as far down to the bone as you can withstand. Deep tissue massage can be beneficial for serious athletes or people who are really active. This form of massage can also be a great supplement to physical therapy to help in the process of breaking down scar tissue. Many people use them after recovery from an injury or surgery. Deep tissue is one of the best types of massage for sore muscles.
Sports massages are specifically designed to treat athletes or anyone that is regularly physically active. Combining different forms of massage that can include Swedish and Shiatsu, they are used to specifically treat muscle groups that are concentrations or focal points of your sport or activity. Many people get sports massages to increase their performance in their sport or event, and they can also be used to prevent and treat injuries.
Does Massage Help with DOMS? (DOMS recovery)
So does massaging sore musces help? Yes, by putting pressure on key trigger points and breaking up the scar tissue, you are increasing blood flow to those tight, knotted, and restricted areas. That improved blood and oxygen flow is going to improve cellular recovery from your workouts and challenging training sessions. These are ideal for sports specific training, alleviating pain, improving performance, improving the recovery process, and treating athletic injuries.
If you are interested in improving athletic performance, preventing injury, and reducing recovery time try regular massage therapy. Talk to us today and find out how Sum Of Us can help you achieve your health and fitness goals. Our Melbourne sports massage offering is conveniently located in High Street, Prahran.
Chris graduated with honours from the University of Melbourne in 2005. His love of musculoskeletal assessment and diagnosis, and constant thirst for knowledge, saw him take on a great deal of further study after university. Chris has trained with a range of varied health professionals including chiropractors, homeopaths, exercise scientists and more, which helped give birth to the Sum Of Us wellness studio