MASSAGE YOUR WAY INTO AUTUMN;
the opportunity for an ‘off-season’ recovery
Soft Tissue, Sports & Remedial Massage Therapist LSSM / ISRM;
Running Coach UKA CiRF.
56 London Road Clinic
The benefits of Soft Tissue Therapy, Sports & Remedial Massage to enhance sporting performance and recovery from injury, or non-sporting but similarly demanding leisure and domestic activity are well documented. Best used as maintenance to relieve the aches and pains of sporting overload or general lifestyle fatigue, all too often it tends to be a last resort once the damage has been done! Used as maintenance it has a vital role to play in facilitating rest and recovery, be that on a regular basis or at the end of a longer period of activity.
For the past few years I’ve worked the final weekend in September at Hever Castle in Kent, on the Castle Triathlon Series season end triathlon event. Lasting two whole days, it is billed by the organisers as the UK’s second biggest triathlon with over 7,000 competitors, the world’s largest children’s triathlon with over 1,600 8-15 year olds and the grand finale of the UK triathlon season. The point about this is that the move into autumn marks the end of the season, ushering in an ‘off-season’ from a particular sport or activity which allows a well-earned break for some rest and recuperation, the chance for the body to recover, or to take up a different activity over the winter months ahead. The off-season may well be due to natural, climatic or ground conditions, but importantly there is an overwhelming need for a break to avoid burn out, boredom and stagnation. In turn, the break allows the opportunity to come back fresh next time.
Although many hardy souls may continue all year round (the golf course is always open; and we can run whatever the weather) allowing time for a recovery period of reduced activity applies as much to the year as a whole as it does to a daily or weekly programme. It underlines the importance of listening to your body throughout the year, taking stock of seasonal fatigue and managing it through maintenance, rest and recovery. A break also provides the opportunity for reflection on the season as a whole and to make some mental notes for improvement the following year. That may be to develop certain aspects of your game, through conditioning or acquiring new skills. Or perhaps it is time for a more calculated view of the future, to easing off a bit and turning to more appropriate challenges instead!
And what of ‘Age-groupers, Masters or Veteran’ categories of competition and participation, as rest and recovery will have a different emphasis appropriate to age. What was possible in our 20s, 30s and 40s will not replicate as time marches on into our 50s, 60s, 70s and beyond. With each passing decade the need to adjust to a lower loading of activity accelerates. With established fitness inbuilt through time, sporting performance and leisure pursuits can be maintained through quality rather than quantity of activity, especially when seen in age-related terms. This includes allowing more time between sessions for rest and recovery; making allowances for age in monitoring recovery needs; maintaining strength and flexibility rather than volume of activity. If basic movement skills relate to agility, balance and coordination, maintaining flexibility and range of movement become increasingly significant factors with time.
Soft Tissue Therapy, Sports and Remedial Massage is appropriate for treating many musculoskeletal conditions, however acquired. More than just sports massage, it safely assesses minor and chronic injuries, applies a range of advanced massage techniques to treat them and offers practical advice on rehabilitation through postural, movement and performance improvement. Used regularly or as required, it can help prepare you for enjoyable, rewarding and hopefully injury free activity, treat existing conditions, and promote rest and recovery from past exertions.