If you have a sport you dedicate large amounts of time to (cycling, running, tennis, etc.) I highly recommend you cross train in another activity and consistently get massages.
By cross training you take a break from the repetitive stress of your sport and challenge your neuro-muscular system to coordinate with different muscle activation patterns. If you’re a hard-core runner, which is predominately a sagittal plane (forward/backwards) movement, try zumba or capoeira. Move sideways, move diagonally, invert, cartwheels, chacha – the idea is to vary your movements. Challenge your body at all angles to keep it strong and fluid.
Massage therapy is an excellent way to decrease muscle tension by breaking free, stuck muscle fibers, increasing circulation – therefore improving the flow/exchange of fluids and hydrating tight tissue. Muscles sometimes strangle themselves – figuratively speaking but there’s truth to it!! Some of this massage work may be painful if the muscle is harboring trigger points (taut bands of muscle fibers) but should remain tolerable. Each treatment builds upon the next, and each subsequent treatment will feel more tolerable allowing for deeper work.
But enough about the scary, boring part! (I sure know how to sell a massage!!). Massage feels awesome! It’s therapeutic, it helps you sleep better, it relaxes the nervous system and it strengthens your immune system. It benefits a slew of chronic conditions, doctors should prescribe it and insurance should cover it as part of their preventative wellness plan.
A couple of sessions a month is a good start for wellness, weekly sessions if you want to address a specific issue. It is so worth it, your future you will thank you!
Oh and don’t forget to cross-train!
Stand tall, breathe deep!