We often talk about massage therapy as a way to relax and unwind, but what if we told you that massage therapy could make you more athletic and flexible? The sports massage industry is a booming one and it’s definitely something to keep your eye on. Who knew that something as simple as a massage could have so many benefits for athletes? Sounds exciting, right? There are a number of awesome benefits that come with massaging if you are an athlete and we’ll outline some of the coolest ones below.
1. Massages Reduces Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness
If you exercise enough you’re bound to run into soreness; it’s just a fact of working out. As you exercise you break down your muscles and they need time to recover. One of the strangest things about exercising, however, is delayed onset muscle soreness. Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS), as the name implies, appears long after the initial exercise. It can be anywhere from 24-72 hours after exercise before you feel sore and it’s a bit more intense than your typical soreness. A post workout massage can do wonders for this ailment. One of the best ways to help your muscles recovery is to get your blood flowing through massage therapy. When you get a massage promote blood and lymph flow throughout the body which helps your damaged muscles recovery quickly and effectively.
2. Massages Increase Flexibility
One of the biggest factors in athletic performance is flexibility. If you’re too tight then it’s hard to do well at sports. Many athletic injuries stem from being too tight in certain regions. Massage therapy can help with this problem by promoting blood flow to tight joints and also by gently stimulating tight areas.
3. Massages Promote Waste Disposal
No, we’re not talking about your local garbage man. Massages detox your body. We’re talking about your body’s ability to dispose of toxins. massaging promotes blood flow which in turn helps your body process toxins and other poisons that may be in your system. If you have a regular massage schedule you are actually helping your body detox. The healthier you are the better you can perform in the gym, on the field or in the office.
4. Massages Kill Stress
We’re sure you already know this one but perhaps you didn’t know how this figured into your fitness. Stress has many killer effects upon the body that you should be aware of. We have even written an article on some of the key things to beware of when it comes to stress.
Stress lowers your athletic abilities in a number of ways but one of the biggest ways is that it causes men and women to release cortisol. Cortisol lowers your testosterone levels which can affect your strength and make you weaker.
Stress also has some psychological effects, such as decreased focused and anxiety, both of which will kill your athletic abilities fast. If you can’t focus you can’t be athletic.
5. Massages Promote Restful Sleep
One of the big elephants in the room when it comes to sports performance is sleep. Most people are willing to work out and eat properly but getting a good night’s rest in our constantly connected society is an olympian task in and of itself. Luckily, massages promote regular sleep patterns, so after your awesome workout, you can get enough sleep to recover on top of a host of other benefits that massage therapy has. If you don’t sleep you don’t recover. Here is a good article on the importance of sleep and athletic recovery.
While we typically like to focus on how massaging can help you lead a calmer and more relaxed life, it’s hard to ignore the evidence out that that people who enjoy athletics and sports can benefit from massages and we figured it would be a cool tangent to touch on. Are there any massaging tips or recovery tips that you athletes out there would like to share with us? Please write them below.