Saturday, January 12, 2013

Your body is a wonderland, so treat it wonderfully

After a peak-season injury last year saved only by a cortisone injection and a half-dozen pain sessions at my massage therapist, chiro, and pt, I've quickly learned the importance of routine in maintaining a healthy body.

You never see an injury coming. In fact everything typically feels terrific until your hip flexors (or otherwise) reach the point of no return and weeks of tension finally take an irreversible toll on your body. An analogy would be: if you check yourself out in the mirror every morning you're more or less going to look the same, but over the course of a season and years, the wrinkles start showing and you're nowhere close to the man you used to be.

Here's how I get rid of the wrinkles:

  1. 15 min a day keeps the injury away: I foam roll every day, honing in on key stress and problem areas: e.g. shoulder & lats after swim sesh; glutes, IT's, calves after a run etc.
  2. 1 hr a week to dig deep (commandment #4!): No matter how hard you try, there are some areas you just can't dig deep enough, and that's where my sports masseur, Johnny Wong, fits in. If you're new to massage, it's important to try several therapists and settle down with the one who's philosophies address your issues best. Every week, Johnny pinpoints problem areas for me to focus on during my daily stretching, and his intimate knowledge of my body helps us raise red flags such as: could this recurring tension in my left hamstring be a technique issue, could cramping on the lateral of my calves be addressed to my wearing of Newtons? These are observations you simply wouldn't be able to make on your own. Yes, massage is expensive but I can not stress how incredibly valuable it is for a competitive athlete.

I'm pretty familiar with the sports therapists of the bay area and can provide referrals on request. I also have a local favorite in boulder should any of you be located that way.

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