If you experience reoccurring injury or soreness due to your running routine, massage can greatly benefit your body to keep you moving. Here are three of the top reasons you should consider adding massage to your athletic, self-care routine.
1. Improve Recovery Time
The general goal of massage is to help fluid in your body move back to your heart. This “flushing” of fluids will help to bring freshly oxygenated blood to muscles and joints. Without fresh fluid in these areas, our tissues have a harder time repairing the microscopic tears that occur in the muscles and connective tissue following a workout. It is believed that these tears, along with an accumulation of lactic acid in the muscle, are the main causes of muscle soreness and fatigue. So, by including massage in your daily or weekly regimens, you are giving your body a fast pass to recovery. Giving your muscles fresh fluid will not only improve recovery time, but it will also allow the replenishing nutrients you need to flow more easily and effectively through your body.
2. Increase Flexibility
Long, flexible muscles are healthy muscles. The repetitive movement of running shortens the muscles over time. A combination of massage and stretching is ideal for achieving a well-balanced structure for runners. Sports massage therapists sometimes use a method called Active Release Technique, or ART. In this technique, pressure is applied to a muscle while in a shortened position. Then, by moving the joint to lengthen the muscle, the therapist achieves a deep and effective stretch. Massage also helps the tissues to move more fluidly, making stretching less painful, thereby making it easier to lengthen and make muscles more flexible.
3. Prevent Injury
Injury is less likely to occur when the muscles, tendons and ligaments are functioning at their best. Undue tension in the soft tissue tends to put excess pressure on the joints. Often times, injuries can be avoided if this tension is addressed through massage and stretching. It is best not to let any recurring symptom go on without treatment, no matter how small of an issue it may seem. A massage therapist will be able to lend some insight as to what may be causing your symptoms. Common injuries that runners experience, which may be helped with massage, include:
- Runners knee
- Iliotibial band syndrome
- Achilles tendinopathies
- Plantar fasciitis
- Common muscle strain
When to Fit Massage into Your Training Schedule
Now that you’re convinced about how beneficial massages can be to runners, keep in mind that it’s best to schedule a massage on a day when you will be resting or can keep your workout light. Depending on the amount of running you do and what your goals are, it is recommended to have a massage 1-4 times per month, and creating a consistent massage schedule for yourself will give you the most benefits.