After a long and hard training ride on the saddle, you can’t deny the fact that your muscles will feel tight, tense and taut. Before you know it, an achy lower back may lead to a tight hip, causing tight quad muscles, and eventually a tweaked knee. A sports massage will loosen those tight muscles and facilitate greater circulation so you can recovery quicker and ride pain free.
Along with benefited recovery after training, massage therapy has also shown to boost your circulation according to a study by researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago (1). In the research healthy sedentary adults participated in a hard leg workout or dead press until it was too sore to continue. Half of the participants received a post-exercise massage while the other half did not. A control group received a massage without participating in any exercise. The 2 groups were assessed on muscle soreness after exercise and all groups had their blood flow measured by ultrasound at various intervals up until 72 hours after the exercise.
The study found that the post-exercise massage group found themselves basically pain free from 90 minutes after exercise, while the exercise only group experienced lasting soreness for 24 hours.
Interestingly, but not surprising, the group that received a post-training rubdown and the group that just had a massage without the exercise enjoyed improved circulation for 72 hours, as opposed to the exercise only group which found that they had reduced circulation for about 48 hours. The study tested the circulation levels in their arms, and due to the distance from where the exercise stress and massage occurred, it suggests that massage triggers a full-body improved circulation response.
When muscles are put under stress from exercise, the microfibers of the muscles can tear, this is the pain you feel after training hard. Improved circulation of the whole body will lead to a faster recovery as the blood is able to carry adequate nutrients and oxygen to muscles.
Even if you are not training hard, regular massage has the same beneficial effect on circulation regardless and aids in injury prevention.
Get in touch with me, Sian McCartney, if you have any questions on when you should get a sports massage.
- Massage Therapy Restores Peripheral Vascular Function After Exertion Nina C. Franklin, PhD, Mohamed M. Ali, MD, Austin T. Robinson, MS, Edita Norkeviciute, BS, Shane A. Phillips, PT, PhD'Correspondence information about the author PT, PhD Shane A. Phillips. [2 February 2017] Available at https://www.massagemag.com/massage-therapy-improves-endothelial-function-26993/ (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4037335/)