The Benefits of Post-Ride/Race Massage
By Jenn O’Connor of Sustainable Wellness Massage
- Recover faster
- Reduce/prevent injury
- Relax/elongate your muscles
- Improve Circulation
- Flush metabolic cellular waste byproducts
- Calm your nervous system
- Relieve Pain
- Feel Better
Post-race massage plays an important role in supporting a rider to perform at his/her best. Massage helps to speed the recovery process by relaxing and elongating muscle tissue, improving circulation, calming the nervous system, and relieving pain.
Post-race massage involves several techniques, which increase blood flow to muscles. This is important because improved circulation brings essential nutrients to deprived muscle tissue and removes the build up of cellular waste byproducts. This promotes healthy muscles and leads to better performance on the bike.
Sustained riding puts muscles in a more shortened state. This decrease in length may limit a rider’s range of motion, and in turn reduce power output. Massage helps to elongate muscles and return them to a more normal length after a ride.
When competing, most riders experience an increase in some hormone levels including epinephrine (adrenaline). While this is advantageous for a cyclist during an event, it is also necessary to return this hormone to normal levels soon after a competition. When levels are more normal, healing processes are more optimal. Massage has a direct impact on calming the nervous system, which helps to facilitate this process and promote a greater state of health.
Pain relief is another important aspect of maintaining optimal performance on a bike and is complemented by all of the processes previously described. For example, during periods of high intensity exercise, there is increased pressure on muscles, which results in micro-tears along the actin and myosin junction of a muscle fiber. As with any trauma, muscle tissue needs oxygen and nutrients (which travel in the blood) in order to heal. An increase in circulation from massage, quickly facilitates this necessary delivery. When muscles get what they need, they can begin to repair damaged areas more efficiently and the rider will begin to feel better sooner. Massage is a comprehensive practice that synergistically supports the rider to perform better.
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Article by Jenn O’Connor of Sustainable Wellness Massage in Williston, Vermont
Check out Jenn’s site at http://sustainablewellnessvt.com/