sports massage, strength training and tart cherry juice!
Posted on 18th September 2021 at 15:55
Someone recently said to me.....
Someone recently said to me that a physiotherapist he’d received treatment from had told him that massage/sports massage was a waste of time/not relevant in his recovery. I think what was really meant by that comment was that there are more things you need to do and consider in your recovery and self care apart from just hands on therapy, which is correct!
Contrary to what you may think, I’m not going to suggest you have lots of sports massage treatments for the rest of your life! The benefit of a good quality sports massage treatment is firstly to make you aware yourself of areas that feel tight or more uncomfortable than they should be, which can help guide other aspects your plan to feeling better, and a secondary aspect to this is that it also feels good afterwards. The ‘feel good’ after affects are quite often why people have a sports massage, and obviously if something makes you feel in a better mood and more ‘chilled out’ then chances are you are on the right track to your own happy place!
Different people will report and feedback differing benefits of sports massage, which is why it can be difficult to quantify it clinically, and the style and application of the massage can vary greatly from one therapist to another.
Most pain and injury usually has its origins in movement dysfunction, which is why I’m wholeheartedly in favour of any type of corrective or complementary strength training routine.
This can range from simple body weight exercises and drills (such as glute bridges for glute strengthening) to more complex and whole body compound movements across different muscle groups, but actually attempting to move and strengthen your muscles (without pain occurring) is in itself therapeutic, and should be encouraged as soon as possible.
One of the most common ailments following strength (and endurance) training can be DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). Active recovery exercise is likely to be one of the best ways to recover from this (such as riding an exercise bike on low resistance to just move the limbs and pump blood through the area following lots of muscle soreness in your legs)
Some other aspects of recovery range from hot/cold therapy, (although more recently this type of treatment has been questioned in terms of muscle recovery, but athletes seem to ‘feel good’ from doing it, so perhaps the benefit is more psychological, than physical), and obviously nutrition and hydration have always been very important in terms of general health and athletic performance, which brings me to my final point, tart cherry juice! Yes, a study by the Scandinavian journal of sports medicine: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19883392/
found that marathoners consuming tart cherry juice five days before, on the day of, and 48 hours following their races reduced muscle soreness, and furthermore, the athletes also showed signs of improved muscle recovery and function. Tart cherry juice appears to provide a viable means to aid recovery following strenuous exercise by increasing total antioxidative capacity, reducing inflammation, lipid peroxidation and so aiding in the recovery of muscle function, so it might be worth you adding this to your diet in future if you're training hard :)
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