It Takes A Team To Keep An Older Athlete Going So Don’t Forget Your Sports Massage


FitOldDog's support crew in New York City, from front to back, Meg, Tara, Myles, Jess, and Deb.

Some key members of FitOldDog’s support crew, while we were in New York City for the 2012 Marathon. From front to back, Meg, Tara, Myles, Jess, and Deb.

Hi! Thanks for coming by!

Rick, FitOldDog’s swim coach, and he’s making all the difference by taking my attention away from technique and onto conditioning (the technique is coming along for the ride – a long ride). Photo by FitOldDog.

If you want to keep your body going, find the right support crew and remember to appreciate them and say thanks from time to time. One important member of my team is my Sports Massage Therapist, Pilates and Gyrokinesis® instructor, Tara, because she finds problems before they turn into injuries.

I’ve found massage to be helpful for both finding and fixing training issues, ranging from ileo-tibial (IT) band syndrome to shoulder blade immobility. Not only does it feel good, but massage is a great way to get to know your body. There are always surprises! There turn out to be tight spots of which one is completely unaware, and tightness precedes injury, so beware.

Tara, FitOldDog's Sports Massage Therapist.

Tara, FitOldDog’s Sports Massage Therapist.

For instance, during my last massage, which was preceded by a long training swim with Rick, Tara found a tight spot in my shoulder. A local strain waiting to to turn into a torn rotator cuff, which Tara identified as a tight subscapularis muscle ‘yanking’ on its insertion near the shoulder joint. In fact, Tara said this was one of the commonest sources of shoulder injury. I was instructed in the appropriate corrective action (gentle massage across the muscle fibers to encourage the muscle to relax), and of course I backed off for a couple of days on the swim. Finally, as I swim I’ll be more aware of this region of my shoulder, which will allow me to work on fixing any biomechanical issues that are contributing to unnecessary pressure on in this important muscle.

Location of the subscapularis muscle and its insertion near the shoulder joint.

Location of the subscapularis muscle and its insertion near the shoulder joint. This is a common source of shoulder pain, and is clearly at risk for long-distance swimmers.

This is really the true value of a sports massage by someone who knows what they are doing, finding problems waiting to happen. Don’t expect ‘fluff and buff’ during the process, as temporary discomfort is crucial component of this aspect of safe exercise for better health.

There are many approaches available to assist you with your body mechanics, and to turn you into the best athlete you can be. Could there be a better way to spend your time than exploring your body in order to remain mobile for as long as you possibly can? This planet is densely populated with adventures, many or which will require your active physical involvement, so why miss out?

Exercise wisely, then get out there and have fun!

-k @FitOldDog


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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.