Move It or Lose It
If you are not building muscle or at least maintaining it through exercise, it is likely you will be losing muscle as the body ages. “Move It or Lose It” is a simple concept underlying some of the principles of fitness. Muscle atrophies, or loses protein, coordination, and proper functionality when it is not being used enough to stimulate the body to store protein in a muscle therefore making the body healthier and more resilient.
Every athlete understands the impact of exercise and conditioning on athletic performance. Someone’s athletic goals determine the exercises needed to increase sport performance. The exercise “principle of specificity” states that you will get better at what your train at. You will gradually adapt to any work the body performs. It is akin to how “practice makes perfect.” The “overload principle” of fitness is another aspect of athleticism meaning one also has to do more of an activity in order to get better at it. This means more exercise sets, repetitions, and more physical activity, and more practice as sports skills are needed to steadily progress and build upon the exercise plan and program being followed.
Exercise and Overtraining
Exercise ideally is great for the body yet it is inherently stressful as well. Breaking down muscle tissue through physical activity in order to strengthen it by adapting to external stimuli places a stress on the body’s Central Nervous System (CNS). The Central Nervous System determines what needs to be healed and when. While forcing the body to get stronger, the whole process may be intense and injurious. Certain contact sports are more prone to injuries over others.
Overtraining is a serious concept to watch out for and can happen to anyone regardless of a person’s level of fitness. Overtraining is when the body is put through more physical stress than it can take during a time frame and is not getting enough rest and recovery support to handle the demands placed upon it. Sports Massage assists with every aspect of the rest and recovery that is needed when training and helps the CNS recover from everything you have put it through.
Rest and Recovery
Sore muscles after physical activity? Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) occurs sometime in the following days if the body is not accustomed to the amount of exercise it is performing. An unconditioned muscle can have DOMS for up to a week as the body adjusts to the new challenges placed on it. During intense cycles of training for an athletic event or activity one will inevitably encounter soreness. Massages during this time period assist in the recovery of the athlete’s optimum health by preventing common injuries or chronic pain one is prone to. Scar tissue accumulated through injuries over the years will not fully heal back to how it was before, but it can significantly improve with regular sports massage therapy and help you get back to peak performance.
Sports massage therapy treatments carry along all of the benefits of regular massage therapy, including an increased general sense of relaxation and well being. The sports tailored massage may involve a fast-paced massage stroke, stretching, and other methods depending on which sports or physical activities you are involved in. It can be used as a pre-workout aid to warm up the muscles or it can be used directly following athletic activity to reduce DOMS and increase the flexibility that getting stronger often reduces.
Other benefits of a sports massage include:
- Improves circulation of blood in the body
- Increases awareness of various sensations in the body
- Improves balance and function within the body structure
- Provides enhanced mental alertness and clarity through neuromuscular relaxation
- Relieves painful sensations and helps swelling reduction
- Helps with the “organization” of connective tissue such as muscle fibers, ligaments, tendons, and joints
- Decreases recovery time from intense athletic performances and tough work outs
- Encourages greater overall metabolic energy and stamina
- Enhances muscular relaxation and promotes relaxation in general
- Deactivates trigger points – tight areas within muscle tissue that cause pain in other parts of the body. For example a trigger point in the back may cause pain in the neck
- Causes formation of strong scar tissue instead of rigid and immobile scar tissue
- Promotes greater flexibility and range of motion of injured joints and muscles
- Reduces and even prevents recurrent sports injury
- Shortens duration of traumatic sports injuries
The benefits of a sports massage are cumulative, meaning you may need to repeat the procedure in order to reap the most benefits – just as you do with exercise. Receiving sports massage therapy treatments as much as once a week will significantly improve your athletic performance and alleviate pain and trauma in the body.
If you think a sports massage may help you achieve important results you aren’t able to get any other way, please reach out to us by calling or contact us at Zen Body Therapy online to discuss what we can do for you.