WHETHER YOU ARE an elite athlete or just getting started with an exercise routine, you need to look after your body. It becomes even more important when you’re upping your mileage, increasing intensity or approaching a competition, and regular sports massages have a place in every training program – whatever your sport!
Sports massage is a great way to loosen up and stretch tight muscles, address any muscular imbalances, maintain soft tissue health and range of movement, get your body ready for competition and to promote quicker recovery after a hard workout or competition. It will also help you recover from any injuries quicker, through helping with the alignment of scar tissue, reducing pain and inflammation, and breaking down adhesions before they become chronic. A good massage therapist will work with you and take into account your training plan, race and recovery weeks, and can customize treatments to best suit your current needs.
MOST RUNNERS HAVE at some point suffered with tight or aching calves – often as a result of a particularly long run or increased speed. Changing to minimalist running shoes or a forefoot strike is also a guaranteed way into some calf tension as the body adapts. The Achilles tendon is one of the most common sources of pain around the ankle and directly connected to the calf, so it’s important to understand these injuries and know what to do if you get pain in this area.
RESEARCH HAS JUST today been published on how many office workers in the UK spend practically their entire working day sitting at their desks. Most are on their feet for less than half an hour a day, and over half even eat their lunch at their desks. While this is unlikely to be shocking or even mildly surprising news to anyone who has ever worked in an office, it is a huge concern where public health is concerned. A sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and weight gain – the gist of the research conducted by the British Heart Foundation – but from a more immediate and functional point of view, it’s also awful for your posture and body mechanics.
Let’s face it, our bodies are not designed to commute to an office location, sit at a desk all day and then get back in the car to drive home, followed by an entire evening sitting in front of the TV. Whatever happened to our ancestor, the ‘Running Man’?
SEPTEMBER IS a bit like the New Year, except with less pressure and fewer expectations. But it always brings a new season and a new school year, quite possibly a new pair of boots and for me anyway, a feeling of new beginnings.
With a new year of sorts in mind, I decided to do ‘healthy September’. Nothing too crazy, just no sugar (of the obvious kind) or alcohol, less bread and more fish-and-veg-and-brown rice type meals for a month. I wasn’t even going to stop drinking coffee. Of course I failed promptly on the 1st of September (accidental burger)… and on the 2nd (ice cream – it was a hot day)… and 3rd (a friend stopped by with a delicious cake – what’s a girl to do?!). I vowed to start again the following Monday, but didn’t do any better. That night, I felt ecstatically happy tucking into a chocolate chip cookie – after deciding to give up trying to give up – and didn’t even feel particularly guilty. (If there’s one thing running gives you, it’s sugar cravings.)
Later that week, after the first session with my new running club, I had an epiphany. I was already doing a lot to improve my health and fitness, but I came to realize I should put my spare time to good use and get back into writing. More specifically, it was the high that I got from a hard run that made me want to write about how it felt and what running was doing for me – without risking a spoiler here, what it’s doing for me is something pretty amazing. So, here we are. This blog is my ‘healthy September’ (though hopefully not just for September).
I have no idea where this will take me, but I hope you’ll join me on my journey. Expect posts about running; my work as a sports and clinical massage therapist; tips and thoughts about health and wellbeing; and other topics that probably don’t have very much to do with any of the above.