(NewsUSA) - Many Americans focus on the active part of exercise -- lifting more weight or running more miles. But you build muscle during recovery, not while you're exercising. For this reason, athletes of all levels are starting to pay exercise routines and recovery periods equal attention. And for many, sports massage has become a vital tool in the recovery process.
Sports massage is a specific form of massage designed to help athletes achieve the best possible performance and conditioning. Therapists usually concentrate on the areas most affected by a particular type of exercise. For example, a sports massage for a cyclist would address the quads, while a swimmer would need more work on the chest and upper back.
"Sports massage benefits all types of athletes; from the weekend warrior to the serious competitor. Receiving sports massage on a regular basis can increase muscle flexibility, reduce pain and inflammation from overuse during physical activity and promote faster recovery time," said CG Funk, vice president of product development at Massage Envy.
Some massage experts recommend sports massage. Post-event massages help athletes recover after competitions, not only by increasing circulation to remove fatigue toxins and soreness, but also to promote mental relaxation.
Training massage helps athletes make the most of their exercise routines. Sports massage can reduce the likelihood of injury in oft-used muscles while also speeding recovery time, so athletes can work harder and more often.
Professional athletes will also arrange pre-event massages, as massaging the muscles before a workout helps them warm up more quickly.
But don't think only professional athletes can benefit from massage -- sports massage helps anyone who engages in physical activity, including swimmers, weight lifters, runners, golfers, ball players, skaters, dancers, tennis players and boxers.