By Guest Blogger: Sarah Therkildsen
As summer quickly approaches, many of us are looking forward to the bright sun, sweet breezes, and some time for fun and relaxation. If you are like me, however, you may be realizing how full your calendar is already looking, and it is taking some of the summer breeze out of your sails. Besides the ongoing stresses of daily life, the weather often draws us outdoors, quickly increasing our physical exertion. The heat also can take its toll, causing swelling in joints and limbs. These are all great reasons to remember massage is our friend and a great way to continue self care. Let’s take a closer look at these four ways:
1. Increased Outdoor Recreation and Exercise
The advent of summer brings the joy of being outdoors again,. Our level of activity can ramp up rapidly, which can take its toll on our bodies. Even if you have been going to the gym this winter or attending a fitness class, chances are you are doing different activities and using different muscles this time of year. Whether you are running longer miles, mountain biking, golfing, swimming, playing disc golf, or even just kicking the ball around with your kids, these changes in activity can lead to muscle fatigue, aches, and strains. Massage helps reduce pain, increase flexibility, decrease our chances of injury, and helps keep our energy up during this active season.
2. Increased Yard Work and Outdoor Projects
Spring and summer for me always means at least a little bit of yard work. Weeding, pushing a lawn mower, carrying bags of mulch or loads of garden rocks, maintaining a pool along with other big outdoor projects we may tackle this season, cause stress on our bodies. Even weeding for only 15 minutes puts strain on my muscles despite using proper body mechanics, and I know my back and shoulders are especially vulnerable during the summer. Massage can help decrease inflammation and pain and help rid the body of toxins so we can stay active and recover more quickly.
3. Increased Swelling in Joints and Limbs
Along with the fun that warmer weather brings, it can also bring an increase in swelling in our limbs and joints. If you wear rings on your fingers, have you ever noticed a ring feeling tighter in the summer and almost slipping off in the winter? Even if the swelling is not visually noticeable, it often is still there as heat and humidity can lead to a static accumulation of fluid. Massage will improve circulation in the entire body, and lymphatic massage is designed to push fluids throughout the body, helping to improve circulation and rid the body of excessive fluid, thus decreasing swelling and discomfort.
4. Increased Stress
Besides the normal day to day activities that we have during the rest of the year, summer often brings an increase in social outings. Barbeques, beach trips, weddings, having the kids home from school, vacation planning, vacation, and recovering after vacation (am I right?) quickly add up and we can find ourselves busier than we anticipated. As fun as summer is, it is still important to carve out some time for that self care that Alicia talked about last month. Relax and de-stress. Massage can decrease anxiety and tension and increase our energy levels, helping us to keep up with all the fun of summer and truly be able to relax and enjoy it all.
Nicholas Garman, LMT NSCA-CPT
|Kalamazoo Athletic Wellness||
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