There is no short cut to success, training and training hard is necessary to make strength, endurance and performance gains in any sport. However, it’s not all about what you do in the gym that counts. Recovery is a huge part of the process.
1) Increased Blood Flow and Cellular repair
Arguably the biggest benefit massage is known for, is its ability to move cellular waste out of the body in a more efficient manner. When massage strokes are applied so they follow the return of blood and lymph to the heart, they can significantly improve the circulatory waste disposal systems of the body. What does that mean for you? Faster recovery – decreased lactic acid and therefore decreased delayed onset muscle soreness! Now that’s what we like to hear.
2) Improves Mobility and Flexibility?
This is a tricky one. Let’s start by defining the difference between mobility and flexibility. Flexibility refers to the ability of your soft tissue (muscles) to stretch. Mobility, on the other hand, is an umbrella term for the many elements that contribute to movement with full range of motion, including restricted muscle tissue, joints, the joint capsules, motor control etc. SO … where does massage help in all of this? Certain types of soft tissue work help to improve the mobility of a variety of soft tissue structures. Massage is one way in which these tissues can be encouraged to increase their mobility. However, if you are looking to increase purely the flexibility of your tissues, massage may not be for you. That is the domain of a variety of static/dynamic stretching and improve motor control! But that’s a conversation for another day ;)
Ok so this may not seem like an obvious way to improve your training, but let me assure you, relaxation and down time is ESSENTIAL for an effective training regime. Training is a stress on the body, albeit a good stress, it’s a stress none the less. Too much stress of any kind on the body has detrimental effects. There are a variety of ways to manage over training and continue to ensure you get the best results for your body and massage is one of them. The mind-body connection, endorphin release and general all round good vibes that you experience in a remedial massage are doing your body wonders on the inside.
So, there you have it. Massage is a very effective strategy to consider in your training program if you’re looking to train for the long term with great results!