Australians love their sport – there’s no doubt about that. Whether you’re an active participant, or an enthusiastic supporter, sports and physical activity can take a fair toll on your body if you’re not proactive. A poor posture in the grandstand or on the couch can lead to tight and sore muscles. Or, considering the average training schedule of competitive players (two trainings and a game per week), your chances of knocks, blows, muscle strains, and ligament sprains increase exponentially. Don’t get me wrong; sport is a great outlet for the necessary physical activity our bodies yearn for… but with the right treatment, the experience for the lover of sport can also remain painless. There are a few prophylactic steps you can take to ensure your body remains ‘top notch’.
Warm-up: Most athletes are aware that current evidence suggest that stretching dynamically is better for warming up, than static stretching. But did you know, that most of the time completing a less intense version of the exercise you’re intending to undertake is just as good, if not better, to prepare your body for activity? So if you’re going to run 4 minute splits for 21km, don’t stand at a fence with your leg up and your hands struggling to touch your toes. Get out onto the track and gently jog a 6minute split for a kilometre or so until you’re ready to ramp it up.
Graduated exercise: Ever had one of those moments when you’re watching daytime TV and the “ab-blaster” models come on? You slyly put away your potato chips or chocolate, and if you’re like me, make an instant vow to get fit – starting now! Irrelevant of how good your self-control is, one of the mistakes many make with their new-found exercise resolve is over-doing it. The same goes for joining a sporting team. Often you are thrown into the midst of try-outs or training sessions which push you physically so the coaches can assess your potential on the team. Be careful with new sports, or sports you haven’t played in a long time, as your body is going to need time to adjust to the new pressure.
Treatment: Oh snap! Something hurts that hasn’t hurt like that before, doesn’t it? No doubt the opposing team are playing dirty and you’ve come out worse for wear. The classic Australian failure here is our motto: “she’ll be right mate”. Even with the smallest injury, it’s recommended that early intervention is the key to quick recovery and return to play. Find yourself a therapist who is interested in you and your goals with sport and they’ll construct an appropriate return to sport (RTS) program with you.
This is where sports massage may be your best option for release and healing. Sports massage aims to target the points of your muscular or ligamentous pain through techniques such as trigger point release, myofascial release, muscular stripping, stretching and effleurage. These techniques are often quite intense, using the required level of pressure to ensure the deep tissues are adequately targeted. What is definitive, however, is the freedom and relief felt after a sports massage. Results with these techniques are rapid, resulting in quick relief from pain and discomfort, enabling you to return to the activities you love, faster.
Book an appointment with our qualified physiotherapist with years of experience in competitive sporting environments.