Any seasoned runner knows that the sport is about more than hitting the pavement. It’s about making sure you have the right shoes for your gait. It’s about warming up and cooling down to prevent injury. It’s about hitting the gym a few days a week to strengthen your muscles.
And, most importantly, it’s about listening to your body. Your aching hips and tight calves are begging for a massage.
Before you balk at the idea of a day at the spa, know that there are health benefits beyond the immense relaxation that follows a good full-body rubdown. Whether you’re in UB Solution Financing or a regular blue-collar kind of guy, massage is worth the investment for your workout.
The Many Benefits of Massage
Massage has been found to relieve anxiety and depression, manage pain, help you get a better night’s sleep, beat headaches and increase immunity. A study released last year found that a 10-minute massage following an intense workout significantly reduced muscle inflammation, which helps you recover and get back out on the road faster.
Massage helps speed along the body’s normal processes in the lymphatic and circulatory systems to get rid of lactic acid that builds up when you’re working out. It also manipulates scar tissue from old injuries and will dull the ache in any lingering injuries.
Hung Up on Price?
If you’re worried about dropping more than you would on a new pair of sneakers for an hour-long rubdown, think again. We’re not saying you need to hit up a five-star rated spa. Many gyms and yoga studios now offer massage services that will be significantly cheaper.
If you’re already attending a chiropractor or physical therapist, ask if they offer massage as part of a long-term treatment plan. Depending on your health insurance plan, a portion of the cost might even be covered. Submit your deal to your doctor to see if you qualify.
Sign up for email alerts from Groupon, Living Social and the like. Health and beauty deals might include massages for a fraction of the cost, especially if you’re willing to buy a few at a time. And don’t forget about local massage therapy schools. Those students in training are eager for bodies to practice on and offer steep discounts for the general public.
Massage is most valuable right before a workout — to make your muscles more limber — or right after to get rid of any gunk in your muscle tissue. Depending on your schedule, a professional massage might not be available.
One option that mimics many of the benefits of a full-body massage is a foam roller. Available in a number of densities and ridge sizes, foam rollers help you limit soreness and any muscle tightness while promoting good blood flow in targeted areas.
Foam rollers, when used correctly, are proven to help runners avoid many sports-related injuries. A number of online videos and tutorials are available to show how to properly use them to stretch, massage and manipulate key areas on your legs and back.