Regular massage can play a part in preventing injury
My eighth (and last!) injury prevention tip: Regular massage has a role in keeping us injury free.
Sports massage can reduce soft tissue tension and improve muscle balance, reducing stress on joints and improving range of motion to help us develop sustainable and less injury prone movements and postures.
Release soft tissue tension
Massage uses pressure and movement to soften and lengthen muscles, fascia and connective tissue. It reduces tension, releases restrictions, realigns muscles fibres and can loosen up adhesions, helping muscle function.
Restore muscle balance
As well as reducing tension in shortened, tight muscles massage can help activate other muscles which may have become inhibited, improving muscle balance.
Reduce joint stress
Muscle imbalances across joints can result in joint stress and pain as uneven loads on the joint may prevent its normal function, and create restricted range of motion. Regular massage can identify and address any imbalances early.
Create better mobility
Restricted range of motion, especially when movements are repeated regularly, can result in other areas of tension within the body, creating further imbalances. By addressing initial imbalances massage can help create sustainable movement patterns preventing further impact elsewhere.
Good posture also requires muscles to work together in a way which balance each other and maintaining any body position without breaks can mean that muscles don’t fully recover and relax and tension can start building. Massage can help release neck and shoulder tension from long hours at a desk, and identify what to stretch and what to strengthen to facilitate a posture which places less stress on our bodies.
Increase body awareness
Massage helps identify and create awareness of areas of soreness, tension and also weakness meaning they can be addressed by meaning these can be addressed through stretching and strengthening, trying adjustments to technique or posture if appropriate, and ongoing massage before they result in an injury.
Massage works with the nervous system and can encourage relaxation both at a muscular and whole body level reducing tension and stress
Your foam roller is your friend
Using a massage ball or a foam roller on areas of stiffness or places which are prone to coming tight can be very useful for reducing, and then maintaining low, tension levels.