The Importance of Self Massage in Recovery:
Recovery is vital to performance. The body needs time to repair itself. Self massage and proper hydration are the keys to the door.
This month we have teamed up with the team at Addaday who have kindly offered to give away several of their cool massage stix. We have been using one and they rock. We will also throw in a months supply of the new SOS because you know the importance of hydration in keeping muscles loose! Share and tag this post #sosaddaday to be in for a chance to win.
Here Addaday’s distinguished PT, Robert Forster explains the benefits:
Every physical therapist wants you to know that your body needs attention every day for it to continue to function properly throughout life. Whether you exercise regularly or not, everyday life leaves your muscles tired and tight, and your joints off center. Stretching and self massage techniques are the key tools to mitigate the physical toll of everyday life, and of your workouts.
With athletes and desk workers alike, much of our work is focused on mitigating the damaging effects of daily activities. Long days, poorly-designed chairs, and poor posture all work to corrupt your alignment and stress your joints.
So why should we use self massage??
1) Increase circulation: Manipulation of the muscles causes the blood vessels to dilate and pump more blood into the muscles and fascia.
- Before Exercise: warms up the tissues and make them more pliable to stretching, and less prone to injury.
- After Exercise: flushes the residue of exercise (i.e. metabolic waste products) from the muscles to hasten recovery.
2) Treats Connective Tissue scarring and muscular adhesions, which result from normal training and body imbalances.
- Before Exercise: breaks down dysfunctional scarring that forms as your body attempts to heal from the stress of your previous workouts. Helps create functional scarring that makes you more resilient to injury.
- After Exercise: relaxes tired and tight muscles, works out the knots (muscle spasms) that occur when muscles are overtaxed.
3) Sensory Stimulation from the proprietary, textured surfaces of massage tools stimulate the nervous system to create a reflex relaxation of the muscles, much the same way acupressure works.
- Before Exercise: works out the knots and relaxes the small muscle spasms, known as trigger points, which result from workouts and daily life and interfere with proper muscle and joint function.
- After Exercise: relaxes muscle spasm that occurs in fatigued or overtaxed muscles.
“Recovery is when your body actually grows stronger and more efficient. It is when the benefits of your hard training are realized. Working hard is easy, everyone knows how to work hard, but those who work hard at recover are the ones who win,”
— Bob Kersee, the most successful track & field coach, with over 50 Olympic medal-winning performances.
Only during recovery does your fitness grow. Workouts don’t build fitness, they break your body down, and only if you allow recovery time and actively help your tissues heal, do you become stronger and more fit.
Recovery is not laying on the sofa eating comfort food. There is nothing passive about recovery. Recovery is an active process where light “adaptation” workouts stimulate recovery better than rest alone. Light workouts are akin to the self-cleaning oven, where the heat is turned up to burn off the residue from cooking but no roast is placed inside. Light workouts provide the body the same opportunity to do house cleaning functions without having to recover from the damaging effects of a new workout. With the increased core temperature associated with recovery workouts, your body sets into motion an army of heat shock proteins that immediately go to work repairing an rebuilding tissues damaged by training.
With light activity, the vascular system is stimulated to increase blood flow to the muscles, delivering oxygen and nutrients to aide recovery. The muscle cells, stimulated by a release of hormones, step up the reparative functions and grow stronger. Similar occurrences improve connective tissue and bone repair as well. Stretching and self massage efforts before and particularly after light recovery workouts are more productive when unencumbered by the tightness that would otherwise occur following hard workouts. In this way, your stretching efforts go further toward elongating connective tissue and helping tendons and ligaments heal and grow stronger. A good indication of when your structural system is recovered and ready for another hard workout is when the stiffness from the last hard workout is absent.
Self-massage, with the use of massage sticks and rollers, is one of the best methods to aide recovery after workouts. Manipulation of the muscles and tissues increases blood flow, breaks down muscle and connective tissue adhesions, and promotes adaptation of these tissues to withstand the rigors of your training as you progress toward your goals.
You will feel the fatigue and tension leave your body. When coupled with stretching and icing sore areas, these self-recovery techniques can make a very significant contribution to the adaptive process you seek, along with increased fitness.
Add that to some properly hydrated muscles and your recovery has just gained in effectiveness!
What is Addaday: Scientifically-designed massage sticks, foam rollers, bodywork balls, and a flexible massage device called the Boomerang, all incorporate varied surface textures and shapes designed to release muscle and tendon adhesions, and provide a daily realignment of your joints.