Whether you’re an active participant or an enthusiastic spectator, there’s no getting away from it: Sport is everywhere this summer! Even if the England football team is opting to take a bit of a rest, with the weather (in theory!) offering up increased opportunity to get outside and be active, what better time to make sure you’re ready to make the most of it?
If you’re more of a watcher of sports rather than a player, you may want to take a look at my previous blog so you can make sure you’re sitting correctly to protect your body while in one place for extended periods of time. If you’d like to get involved with the Summer of Sport, take a look at the local clubs I’ve listed below for inspiration.
But, for you competitive types out there, it’s important to keep the body in top shape in order to maintain performance and to help prevent injury which could keep you off the pitch /course /track /court for extended periods of time.
Regular, or “Maintenance” massage concentrates on particular areas and groups of muscles in order to sustain range of movement and flexibility. This can help prevent niggling injuries which can reduce your activity levels and prevent you performing at your peak.
If you do find yourself experiencing an injury – however minor- massage not only helps to relieve the discomfort caused by over-exertion, but also breaks down the stress and tension which builds up in the body’s soft tissue during physical activity.
For major events in your own sports calendar, it’s a good idea to consider specific treatments both before and after the event itself. Consider pre-event treatment as a supplement to your warm-up. It helps circulation and reduces excess muscle and mental tension. Post-event, your focus needs to be on reducing muscle spasms and lymphatic build-up in order to be able to return to your regular regime as soon as possible.
Rehabilitation: There are times, though, even if you’ve looked after yourself appropriately that you may experience cramps, tears and aches. I can work with you to focus on trigger points to reduce the spasm and discomfort that occur in both the injured and “compensation” muscles.
Although the above applies to all sports, here are a few examples of specific risks associated with particular activities:
The football season is a long one, and even if you weren’t on the pitch in France, certain areas are more susceptible than others:
- groin strain resulting from sudden changes in direction or over-reaching for the ball
- hamstring strain needs to be treated with specific techniques to improve blood flow and loosen muscles
- one leg stronger than the other (the “preferred” leg) can cause issues with balance and movement
Local inspiration: 3G Revolution Adult 5 a-side
This sport has a unique set of requirements in order to succeed. It combines a particular mental focus with physical movement in order to succeed. Massage can help by:
- Increasing circulation to help remove metabolic wastes that can accumulate in muscles due to overuse and the repetitive motion of the golf swing
- Reducing muscle spasms, trigger points and adhesions that need to be addressed to help prevent injury and improve quality of movement.
- Improving range of motion and muscle flexibility resulting in increased power and performance
- Decreasing anxiety and stress levels, so improving mental focus
Local inspiration: Crane Valley Golf
Whether you’re Andy Murray or a fair-weather player, performance is regulated by the efficiency, precision, and freedom with which you are able to move. Efficiency is dependent on training and conditioning. Massage allows for more intensive training as it helps to keep your muscles in shape. We’d bet Marcus Willis looks after his muscles! 😉
Local inspiration: Verwood Community Tennis Club
If you prefer a Tour de New Forest rather than the Tour de France, massage is good for injury prevention, enhanced performance and faster recovery.
Cycling is demanding, and can put your body under stress for prolonged periods. While the legs endure the greatest burden, many groups of muscles are involved.
Legs –especially quads and knees – take the brunt of the punishment; cramping and general soreness is the most common result. The upper body can also be affected because of the unnatural posture required for serious cycling.
A post-activity massage improves recovery time by allowing fluids and toxins to be moved out, and allowing blood flow, oxygen and nutrients an opportunity to get back in. Swelling caused by an injury, and the production of non-flexible scar tissue, can “pinch” the flow of blood to the injured area. An increase of blood flow and nutrient to the muscles naturally translates to better recovery.
Local inspiration: Verwood Cycling Club
So….. any activity can benefit from massage, whether pre or post event, but for sustained strength and performance, think MAINTENANCE!