Running is high-impact sport, but if you’re conscious about taking care of your body, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy running into your 70s or 80s. Taking care of your body can mean a variety of things, from nutrition to sleep to mental health. In this blog, we’ll go over the benefits to runners of regular massage. People have said for years that massage feels good, but research is starting to explain why that is. Here are seven reasons runners should consider getting a massage on a regular basis.
Massage removes adhesions between muscles and fascia
Running can create places where muscles and fascia, the very thin casing of tissue around muscles, stick together. These adhesions can reduce a runner’s mobility and might cause pain. Massage applies moving pressure to your muscles, which can work out the adhesions, supporting pain free mobility.
Massage can help muscles recover
Massage can help reduce pain and soreness after a long run. Research has shown massage can also reduce inflammation and improve immune function, helping your body recover faster.
Massage can help prevent injury
Upping the intensity of your workout or training for a longer race can cause fatigue in your muscles, which in turn can cause them to shorten and tighten, making it more likely an injury could occur. Massage loosens the fascia around the muscles, which increases flexibility and lowers the risk of injury.
Massage can increase blood circulation and blood flow
Research has disproven the myth massage works lactic acid buildup out of your muscles, but massage can improve your overall circulation, which is integral for the overall health of your body and the function of your muscles. The circulatory system carries oxygen and nutrient-enriched blood to muscle tissue and carries away metabolic by-products and waste.
Massage improves flexibility
It is common for runners to have very strong, but very tight leg muscles, allowing them to run fast and far, but the lack of flexibility can catch up to them. It is important to balance out muscle strength with muscle flexibility in order to avoid injury and to run pain free. Tightness in your legs can translate into back pain or ankle problems. Massage is a holistic way to incorporate more balance and flexibility into your body.
Massage can reduce Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)
Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, or DOMS, is the technical term for the sore, stiff feeling many runners experience in their muscles a day or two after a hard run. Research suggests massage can actually reduce the intensity of DOMS for runners.
Massage helps with relaxation
Stress can be very detrimental to our overall health and well-being, including having an impact on runners’ ability to train. Research has shown that massage reduces cortisol in the body, which is a hormone that causes stress. Massage also encourages your muscles to relax, which in turn helps your mind to relax, reducing mental stress you might carry around from various aspects of your life, but which can end up taxing your body and therefore your running.