There are plenty of benefits to being physically active and participating in sport. You can stay in shape, fight depression, remain healthy and even prevent illness. However, there can be some downsides to exercise, particularly if you are doing a lot of it quite regularly, and that is risk of injury. Nobody liked being injured but it can be particularly difficult to deal with if you are an active person who is used to being active most days.
There are many ways to prevent injury in sport, one of them being undergoing regular sports massages.
The benefits of a preventative sports massage go way beyond just preventing injury. They can breakdown scar tissue and even stimulate the damaged tissue fibres to realign, thereby improving the function of the muscles. The muscles also benefit from an increased blood flow to them thanks to a sports massage. If you regularly receive sports massages, you are more likely to be able to train to a higher level with greater quality. Sports massages can also be suitable for people who suffer from certain medical problems which can result in a lack of movement. The massages help to decrease areas of tension, stretch the muscles and increase the blood flow.
However, one of the main applications for sports massages is specifically to prevent injury, particularly injury from the overuse of a muscle. It is common for a sportsperson to not even notice that they are damaging their muscles. The damage can build up over weeks, months and even years eventually culminating in an enormous strain being caused resulting in fibres tearing. Each time damage occurs to the muscles there is bleeding, swelling, tension and finally the formation of scar tissue. By regularly undergoing preventative sports massages, you will be preventing any eventual muscle tear as well as helping to break down any scar tissue which may have already formed.
Sports massages also help to prevent injury by stretching the muscles. A lot of hard exercise can lead to muscles becoming shorter and tighter. By stretching them in this manner, the risk of injury to the muscle is greatly decreased. A sports massage can also relieve tension and pressure build up, meaning that in your next training session the risk of you developing a serious injury is decreased.
The preventative massage can also improve the elasticity of the tissues. If you are training hard but not seeing any noticeable improvements in ability or fitness, it may be due to the tissues becoming inelastic. The massage can help to rectify this by stretching the tissues.
If you find that 12-24 hours after completing exercise you find yourself in pain, then this is most likely a symptom of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), particularly if it is lasting anywhere up to 72 hours. Regular massages prevents delayed onset muscle soreness from developing by stimulating the lymph and blood flow throughout the body, which helps to fight muscle fatigue.
It’s not just the physiological effects of massages that helps to prevent injury. It is common knowledge that massages are relaxing. When we are relaxed our heart rate lowers which means blood is pumping more slowly around the body. This means that the red blood cells which are carrying oxygen are passing the body tissues more slowly, which therefore gives oxygen more time to diffuse into the tissues, thereby assisting with the respiration of cells within the muscle and again preventing injury.
As well as reducing soreness and muscle tension, massages are thought to help sports persons to decrease there recovery time without injury.