Martha Perry is a Massage Therapist based in Morzine in the beautiful French Alps. A keen runner, fitness enthusiast and ski tourer, Martha knows the importance of looking after your body in order to keep enjoying those mountain adventures without injury!
With lockdown upon most of us, we are working out at home, taking up that couch to 5k and giving zoom yoga a go so we asked Martha for some of her top tips on how to look after your body at home!
Massage & mountain life go hand in hand. When living and working in the mountains, we ask a huge amount from our bodies. How many of us are willing to take our mountain bike or skis in for a service, but not as willing to give the same love to our bodies? I think we can all agree we expect a high power output 100% of the time, yet only half of us are willing to give our bodies something back. It’s time to change!
Massage is ever-present with elite athletes and fast becoming the go to at amateur level. Reducing tension, helping increase joint mobility and flexibility and of course feeling amazing, the benefits of massage are endless. Research indicates that even a 30 second session can improve range of motion to the target area.
Being currently in French Lockdown, massage is off the table (pun intended). So here’s a helpful ‘how to’ list for ways you can increase your power output and performance on the mountain. Soon, massage will be back, but until then keep your body feeling fresh and prepare for a winter full of mountain sports!
Let’s start with what is more often than not the dreaded task - Foam Rolling. You either love it or hate it, but this is essentially a deep tissue massage, from home, for free!
Skiers and snowboarders notoriously get very tight hips, glutes, quads and IT band. These are all areas easily targeted with a ball or foam roller depending on the density, size and structure of the muscle. With foam rolling you want to roll the length of the muscle - origin to insertion. This will re-create a massage technique called Myofascial Release (MFR). The pressure between the area on the body and foam roller will result in the release of muscle fibres holding together tightly.
I use a tennis ball for my hips and glutes. I use a foam roller for my IT Band, quads and hamstrings. I generally foam roll in the evening after sport or exercise when I have more time.
Stretching is something we learn from school age, but most of us are fairly bad at. In the mountains I see clients time and time again who have left their desk work at home for a big week of skiing. Their normal routine is mostly sedentary, they arrive, go for their first big day on the mountain, don’t stretch, then find they are not able to move on day 2. Stretching can be easily incorporated into your daily routine. When boiling the kettle, brushing your teeth or reading the daily snow report, we can be doing small stretches to get our muscles prepared for the output we are asking of them. Stretching after exercise can also help your muscles cool down and re-set.
I stretch every day post exercise, I usually do 15 - 20 minutes as soon as I get in the door.
I activate my muscles pre exercise, I switch on specific lazy muscles and get them ready for my run, ski etc. I find activating my glutes takes pressure off my lower back and means I’m pain free during the sport.
The most important thing is trying to incorporate these movements into your daily routine. If you try to do too much, it will soon get dull and you’ll find it gets put off. It’s better to do a little each day then a big session once per week. These helpful tips will make you feel fresh and keep your muscles feeling good until your next massage. Foam Rolling, Stretching and Activating complements massage and prolongs the benefits.
For more information contact Martha via MPMASSAGETHERAPY.COM where you can have free tailored advice on how to prepare your body for your ski or snowboard trip!
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