Stay Calm & Massage OnAuthor: Massage Heights
Recovery. A word that some love and others loathe. If one knew the importance of recovery, everyone would love it. But “taking a day off” or pulling back on the intensity from whatever physical activity you do may be a rarity, may even be the most dreaded workout of the week. Recovery workouts, or even rest days, can be mind games, as we/humans/Americans are so used to going and going and going, unable to turn down the intensity in anything we do. We are people who want to be the best at our skill or sport, we want to achieve the most out of our workouts, and ultimately, accomplish goals set by ourselves, society or the sport itself. Athletes have the high probability of becoming obsessed with training, leading to over-training where the body is emotionally, behaviorally, and physically stressed and overused. When one is over-training and pushing the body to the limits without proper recovery efforts, several damaging factors can occur, from fatigue and altered sleep patterns, to torn muscles and injury. But if you want to get faster or stronger, you must recovery the body.
Just over a week ago, I ran the Boston Marathon. I went there with a big, big goal, and while I was unable to reach that time goal, the experience was life changing (read about it HERE). And now, I have to both recover my body and get ready for my next race. Leading up to Boston, I would visit my local Massage Heights at least twice a month, if not more when needed. With the high mileage weeks mixed with the strength training, recovery is one of the key ingredients in furthering my progress, as missed days or sore muscles can impact my training. The workouts rely on me staying healthy and fit, with that also meaning that my muscles must be ready to work every single day. Without a recovery plan, one’s body cannot physically repair, rebuild or strengthen muscles.
In a New York Times article, research found that massage therapy truly does have a positive impact on fixing sore muscles: “With massage, you can have your cake and eat it too—massage can suppress inflammation and actually enhance cell recovery.” BOOM. The process of muscle repair is crucial in bring active, as it allows you to keep moving with little or less soreness from the previous day’s activity.
Whatever you chose to do, you MUST MUST MUST recover your body, no matter your level of fitness. For me, massage is one form of recovery I incorporate into my training, as it not only makes my muscles happy, but it makes me happy too. Frequent massages relax not only my legs from the pounding of miles, but it also relaxes my mind, as I can shut down for that one hour. Then the next day, when I’m going 100 mph between kids and work and training, I know my body is ready to go further and faster, as I embraced the recovery efforts needed for my training.
Again, no matter your level of activity, your body needs to recovery from the day’s activities. We all need to find the balance in life where we can push ourselves, but also where we can relax. So as I close the chapter on one marathon training cycle and look towards another, I plan the massage visits around my hard workouts and races to ensure that I don’t miss a day of training. It’s hard on the body, but I make sure all the puzzles pieces of training and recover work together to ensure I’m as healthy as I can be. And you should do the same … your body and mind will thank you.