Regular exercise and proper stretching along with taking long soaks in tub solve a lot of problems related to muscle ache for athletes. Stretching is an integral part of a perfect exercise routine. Stretching is a process of gradually applying gentle force to lengthen and lubricate the muscles and joints. Stretching is essential to keep the muscles strong and full of energy.

Importance of stretching

Just like jumping and running, stretching gives a lot of benefit to athletes. There are a lot of reasons why tendons, muscles, and cartilage needs to be stretched: such as:

  • To restore the muscle flexibility after an injury
  • To increase the flexibility of the body
  • To restore the muscle balance
  • To lengthen the muscle fibers that contract due to misuse or excessive use
  • To assist in getting rid of natural wastes (lactic acid) from the muscles
  • To keep the muscles warm
  • To energize the body
  • To improve the posture
  • To stimulate the digestive organs
  • To reduce the inflammation in joints
  • To relieve stress and tension
  • To improve concentration and mental focus

Types of stretching

There are two types of stretching. They are:

  • Active stretching – where you control your muscle stretch on your own by doing yoga or posing.
  • Passive stretching – where you are assisted by someone to stretch your muscles.

Massage comes under the category of passive stretching. It is where you ask someone to control your stretches and help you stimulate the body.

Sports massage

Sports massage improves the benefits of stretching itself. The following facts add to the benefits of stretching:

  • Achieve greater muscle stretch
  • Increased relaxation during stretch
  • Control the stretch intensity

Athletes are advised to go for a passive massage when they are done with their routine exercise. A massage therapist who is supposed to work on athletes has to be well-informed with the techniques and tricks to give a soothing massage along with retaining the athlete’s energy. A massage therapist has to focus on isolated muscles as a priority. Massage brings back the body to the right balance to keep the muscles aligned. A good massage can realign the scar tissue with gentle force. A sports massage therapist has to know the exact amount of pressure that is required to work on the damaged muscles. It takes a while for suppleness to restore the skin, but it works eventually. You might be surprised to know that you can also stretch muscles with a massage chair and it’s a great way to stay fit without any workout.

Massage therapists give passive massage and ensure that you do not overstretch your muscles. Especially, when you are recovering from an injury, you have to be careful while stretching exercises. Excessive stretching of a damaged muscle can damage the muscle for a long time, and the athlete may have to face permanent injury.

When you combine stretching and massage, you are more likely to improve your blood pressure and heart rate. It is a misunderstanding that only exercise can give you a fine body tone. You have to put in extra effort to get a fine body tone along with overall wellness. Passive massage offers active vitality in your life. Your therapist may suggest you a few steps of aerobics on the way to stretching and massage, but it is only aimed to give you better muscle tone.

It is essential for athletes to maintain their muscle and body tone. It is their body that supports them and empowers them to perform better at their field. However, there are several massage tools that they can use to control the results of your fatigue.

Helpful tips

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when you are going for active stretching.

  • Do not try a lot of things together.
  • Do not try something that you are not ready for.
  • Warm up yourself beforehand to prevent tearing of muscles.
  • Do not overstretch your muscles.

And, in case you are consulting a massage therapist, then tell him all about your muscle problems so he can plan your routine accordingly. The more you will read about your body, the more you will understand the requirements of your body. If you blend massage and stretching properly, there is no way you can suffer from an injury.

 

By: Jenny Harrison