Working out can take its toll. As you exert yourself on the court, the field, or the track, you’re demanding high performance from your body. Now, that can mean injury and wear; it can mean muscle stress; and it can mean mental strain. Massage therapy can aid athletes in overcoming these aforementioned problems, and it offers further benefits:
Injury & Wear
Overworked muscles can build up lactic acid; it’s this lactic acid that causes much muscle pain in athletes. Fortunately, massage can be effective in relieving the muscles of lactic acid. Massage, as this Health & Fitness Magazine article points out, can “dilate blood vessels, which helps them work more efficiently to promote circulation.” With improved circulation comes improved intake of nutrients into your body’s cells, as well as an improved removal of toxins and waste – including lactic acid that’s built up. That means faster recovery times, and it can mean heightened performance when you choose to get back out there on the field.
Strain & Stress
Now, your muscles are also likely to cramp during demanding exercise. Again, lactic acid may be the source of this issue. In the same way that massage can relieve the injury caused by a lactic acid build-up, it can also reduce cramping. In fact, massage may aid you in improving the ranges of motion of your muscles. As the aforementioned article points out, massaging your muscles relaxes them, and a relaxed muscle can be looser and more flexible.
Exercise and athletic performance require focus. As you push your body to extremes on the field, your mind may be working overtime. Now, exercise itself is beneficial for mental health; in fact, according to the US National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health, exercise can improve one’s sleep, it can improve sexual drive, it can reduce stress; it can improve mood; it can improve energy; and it can improve mental acuity.
However, during exercise, you may be mentally strained. Massage can help athletes overcome the heightened mental demands that go hand in hand with athletic performance. In this way, massage therapy may be effective in improving athletic performance, especially in sports and workouts that require focus.
If, for instance, you’re a professional golfer, regular massages may aid you in focusing throughout a round. With relieved muscle tension, and a clear, unstrained mind, it may be easier to get the ball to your target.
Or take tennis. Throughout a point, the mind is tasked with making many decisions on the fly. It’s required to tell the body where to run; it tells the hand how to grip the racquet for the upcoming shot; and it estimates the right amount of power required to get the tennis ball to that perfect spot on the back corner of the baseline. Even the serve in tennis demands great precision and focus.
In these ways, massage therapy is ideal for athletes. Massage may help you reduce pain and injury; it may aid you in overcoming muscle strain and stress; and it may improve your ability to focus when it matters. Further curious about massage? Feel free to get in touch with our massage therapist here at Health Advantage of Pasadena. We’re here to help you attain optimum health, and optimal performance.