After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb" Nelson Mandela
Mass participation sports events have boomed in 2017 and with more people getting involved in challenges, the occurrence of aches, pains, strains, strains and injuries have increased. Many event organisers have started bringing in sports therapy companies to offer event services to it's participants.
As someone who regularly participates in events and offers event services, I know there is a point where a decision must be made. We see it all the time at events and I have even asked myself the same question after a race – “do I or don’t I?”. Do I have a massage or do I get a bacon roll and a piece of cake? Do I spend my last £10 note on a massage or do I buy an event t-shirt?
There are reasons why you might choose not to have a pre-or post-event massage: you don't want oiled up limbs before an event (we work without oil), you might be all hot and sweaty (we have wipes), you might have loads of gear on (we work over it), you might only have enough money for a massage or food and a coffee (there are always other ways to pay!). None of those are strong enough reasons not to have an event massage and here is why - pre and post event sports massage is specifically designed to help you perform at your best and recover as quickly and effectively as possible after your event.
Pre-Event Massage –
A massage before a competition or race increases blood flow through to the muscles, helping to increase the flexibility of the muscles and mobility of the joints, and reducing the risk of injury. The rush of blood to the muscles brings oxygen, flushes waste products which may contribute to fatigue and cramp during your event and tells your body you are good to go.
Event taping for any last minute, aches, pains and niggles can support the area and give you the confidence that you can get through the challenge ahead.
Massage is a fantastic way of unwinding before an event: easing tension in the body activates your parasympathetic nervous system which leads to a reduction in cortisol levels via the release of dopamine. This improves your mental outlook and can lead to an increase in confidence, ensuring you are in the best mental state possible prior to an event.
Post Event Massage –
Sports massage, post event, helps to remove the toxins which arise because of exercise, and reduces the build-up of waste products such as lactic acid and urea in your muscles. This allows your muscles to recover quicker, allowing you to return to training sooner. It also ensures the muscles do not start to stiffen and cramp.
Massage will stretch the muscles and blood vessels in and around the muscles, causing them to dilate. This means that nutrients can pass through the vessels more easily, and helps muscles to recover quicker. This effect also reduces the impact of delayed onset of muscular soreness (DOMS).
Massage will help control swelling and inflammation and help your muscles return to their normal resting state. By beginning the recovery phase as soon as you finish your activity, you will be back to normal much sooner than you otherwise would. Let’s be honest – how many of us truly stretch and foam roller as soon as we get home?
In summary, pre-and post-event massage should be thought of as an easy way to warm you up for your event and an easy way to cool you down after your event. Make it part of your event experience and see how much it benefits you.
(Rob is a sports performance specialist with over 16 years experience in the fitness industry. Focus 4 Fitness offer expert sports therapy & sports event services, personal training, sports coaching, classes and courses in Norwich).