There is nothing worse than finally starting an exercise program, only to end up with an injury that stops you dead in your tracks.
The first couple of months in a new exercise program are a crucial time for developing the right mindset to stay on track. An injury can end that excitement, so what can you do to prevent these injuries? Get a massage! A regular session can be your secret weapon when you train, helping you avoid injury so you can run regularly and build your fitness and stamina.
Common "newbie" injuries
For people starting or returning to exercise, it's common to see injuries as a result of muscle imbalances. Muscle imbalances simply mean one or a group of muscles is too tight while an opposing muscle or group may be too weak, and they exist in just about every human being on the planet.
A common example is 'anterior tilt', a common side effect of sitting down for long periods of time. It shortens the hip flexors and lengthens the glutes, pulling our hips forward which can cause pain in the lower back, knees and ankles. If you keep exercising through the pain, you run the very real risk of an injury that can put you out of action.
Addressing muscle imbalance
Here are two must-do things to remember:
- Let your muscles recover sufficiently between sessions
- Address any potential muscle imbalances and tension immediately so they don't turn into injuries
A great way to do this is to have a regular Deep Tissue or Remedial Massage, or a combination of both.
What type of massage should I have, and how often?
An effective way to do this is to have a Deep Tissue or Remedial Massage or a combination of both on a regular basis.
Deep Tissue Massage
If you want to be proactive and stay pain-free, or just avoid general stiffness and aching, then a Deep Tissue Massage is ideal. The massage involves working the muscles, lengthening, kneading, stretching and releasing, giving you a feeling of "good pain". It will also flush out lactic acid from the muscle, stimulate blood flow to help decrease inflammation, and provide nutrients and oxygen to muscles aiding in recovery.
Remedial is used to address pain and focuses more on identifying muscle imbalances and how they are affecting joints, tendons and ligaments, and work to correct those imbalances. In a Remedial session, the therapist will need you to interact more and give feedback about pain levels and comfort, and it will also involve postural assessment so problem areas can be identified.
How often you have a massage is dependent on your goals - weekly or fortnightly can be a good option. Massage is an excellent companion to any exercise program because it helps your body to function at its best, allowing you to enjoy your exercise more and see those goals coming closer each day.
Written by Nola Welling, from Knead Therapeutic Massage