Why massages should be part of your cycling routine
Written By Lauren Glendenning
Brought to you by Simply Massage in Glenwood Springs
There’s a reason massage therapists are on the sidelines at NFL games — it’s because the benefits of sports massage are undeniable.
Professional athletes across all kinds of sports often rely on regular massages to reduce muscle tension or promote recovery, but consistent massage therapy has benefits for the everyday athlete, too.
“Most athletes know it’s helpful and effective for their training to get consistent massage,” said Karen Taylor, owner of Simply Massage in Glenwood Springs.
Cycling along western Colorado’s endless roads, trails and mountain passes can become addictive, and regular cyclists in these hills know the importance of perseverance through a long season.
Soft tissue manipulation that occurs during massage encourages blood flow through the muscles, said Michael Bica, a massage therapist at Simply Massage in Glenwood Springs. The muscles need that oxygenation after they’ve been exerted to help promote healing and speed up the recovery process, he said.
Techniques such as trigger point therapy help massage therapists target chronic pain or muscular dysfunction, while sports massage focuses on recovery, performance and well-being. Pain and injury massages focus on major muscle groups to relieve chronic and acute pain, according to Simply Massage.
For anyone cycling regularly, there are certain times that massage might be more beneficial than others. Bicycling.com recommends massages three to five days before a physically demanding ride, and a light rubdown is in order within 48 hours after a strenuous effort. When muscles aren’t as sore a few days later, a deeper massage is recommended to break up adhesions, according to Bicycling.com.
Bica said working with athletes regularly is especially efficient because the therapist could more easily detect abnormalities in the patient. He said some athletes get massages as often as once a week, while others might come every two weeks or once a month.
“I believe consistent massage would benefit anyone,” Bica said. “It just keeps everything in check.”
The benefits of consistent massage for all levels of athletes
- Reduces muscle tension
- Promotes relaxation
- Increases range of motion
- Improves soft tissue function
- Supports recovery
- Decreases muscle stiffness and fatigue
- Decreases delayed onset muscle soreness
- Reduces swelling
Source: American Massage Therapy Association
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