The snow has been slow to fall but it is finally looking like winter wonderland in Chamonix. This means of course, that the resorts are busy getting everything ready for the locals and tourists who will quickly turn Chamonix from its current low season lull to a very busy high season.
I am assuming that many of you out there are preparing your legs for the ski season with lots of squats, lunges, and stretching or yoga. An important dimension to keeping your body fit and healthy for the ski season is to include a regular massage. Getting a weekly massage, a massage every two weeks, or a monthly massage is ideal in keeping the muscles supple or limber.
What do I mean by supple muscles?
Muscles that are supple, or if you prefer, pliable or limber, are muscles that can respond quickly without tightness. An example is of a soccer player who must kick a ball quickly and far will need the strength and the flexibility to kick his leg up high in an instant. If his muscles aren’t supple, then I can assure you he will get injured.
Just to give an another example, this fall I massaged amateur cyclists during a week long cycling race. There were amateurs cyclists who trained for the race but were just hoping to finish and those who trained more as if they were professional cyclists. I can tell you that after feeling so many leg muscles over one week I could feel the difference from a person who trained well, meaning good nutrition, lots of water, regular training, stretching and massage versus hose who did not stretch or get a massage regularly. The muscles of the less trained cyclists were like massaging cement.
Why is it important to have muscles that are pliable? Imagine that you are heading up the slopes to ski, it is cold outside, and you haven’t warmed up your muscles before skiing. You start down the slopes and you hit a patch of ice and down you go with skis in every direction. The impact on your muscles when they are tight can easily lead to tearing, strain or pulling which cause pain and damage. Muscle damage can be in the form of tearing (part or all) of the muscle fibers and the tendons attached to the muscle. The tearing of the muscle can also damage small blood vessels, causing local bleeding, or bruising, and pain caused by irritation of the nerve endings in the area.
When I give a massage I apply kneading, compression, friction, vibration, and percussion techniques to bring more elasticity to the muscle. I also use passive stretching and various other sports massage techniques to release muscular tension, increase blood flow to the heart and release toxins and other metabolic waste from the body.
Get a massage regularly this winter and especially after a day on the slopes to help to keep your body fit, healthy and the muscles, supple!