Massages and cycling

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Cycling creates muscular strains related to the intensity and duration of practice. Since it is an outdoor sport, the exercise tolerance and energy expenditures will depend on the weather conditions, and the strength and direction of the wind.

A good, well-fitted bike may, of course, reduce certain strains, but as you pile on kilometres, they will certainly come back at some point!

Muscular stiffness is common and massages are a wonderful non-medical response to muscle pains.

Pre-workout preparation massage

Typically used by competitors, it can also be performed as a self-massage by all cycling enthusiasts

Purpose of the massage

To prepare you for exercise.

This massage has a toning, energizing, stimulating short-term effect.

It will focus on the lower limbs, i.e. calves and thighs, in addition to muscle warm-up to release tensions, lubricate the joints, and activate the cardiovascular system

You can perform a self-massage with essential oils or balms when it's cold in order to raise the local muscle temperature without cardiac effort.

Conclusion

Massaging should be part of the healthy sports habits to promote performance and recovery.

Post-workout recovery massage

Road, trek, recreational or mountain cycling all involve the lower limbs, create strains in the buttocks and stress in the spine, and also in the upper limbs and shoulder girdle.

Cycling is a supported sport that is good for health - it may even be called health-sport -, but aches and stiffness may appear after a long or unusual session.

Massages play an important role in reducing these post-exercise pains.

Sports massages are for everyone. They promote vasodilatation, local hyperthermia, circulatory drainage and stimulation to improve muscle condition, waste elimination, and muscular cell repair.

The three benefits or recovery massages:

  • Relaxation,
  • Reduced stiffness,
  • Waste elimination.

Massaging technique

Use a large table in a pleasant room, as comfort promotes efficiency

Various techniques are available, such as:

  • vibrations,
  • kneading,
  • palpate and roll,
  • light massage
  • and DTF (deep transverse friction) for painful areas.

Massages can also be performed in warm filiform showers or on the contrary in multi-jet showers, or under infrared lamps with essential oils or restorative balms.

The massage direction should always be towards the heart and follow the muscular fibres to promote venous return while eliminating wastes.

The massage duration should be over 30 minutes and up to one hour.

 

Docteur Patrick Bacquaert

Médecin chef de l'IRBMS

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Advice

Doing sports or any physical activity requires cardiocirculatory adaptations to meet the energy supply needs essential to proper muscle function. In order to provide the oxygen needed for the muscle cells to function, the heart increases its cardiac output by raising the volume of blood circulating through the veins and arteries. The arteries filled with oxygenated blood bring oxygen-rich arterial blood to the muscles to feed them and the veins in blue bring waste-filled blood back to the heart, then to the lungs.

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