Much like your favorite shirt, over time, your body will wear out. You will probably not end up with holes throughout your skin in random places, but your muscles will get tight, torn and lose range of motion.
Lets look at the shirt for a moment. This is your favorite shirt. You wear it as often as you can get away with, even if that is just at home. The more you wear it, the more you wash it. The more you wash it, the more the material thins. The more the material thins, the more likely you are going to have holes begin to appear.
If you're anything like me, when the holes appear you officially label this shirt as your Most Comfortable Shirt and wear it every day while at home. Unless, of course, having holes in your shirt has become "In" once again, then you can still get away with wearing the shirt in public.
Lets assume there is no current fad regarding shirts with holes in them and you wear your shirt everyday at home. As you increase the amount you wear this shirt, you break down the material faster and faster until one day the hole gets so big, the shirt splits in half. This is a very sad day. You no longer have your favorite shirt. It's like you've lost an integral part of your life.
A shirt has a given lifespan. For a pre-determined set of washes and wears, the shirt will hold up. After you reach the number, the degradation of the fabric is a fact of life.
There is a basic technique you could have done to increase the life of this wonderful piece of clothing: wear it less often. You could alternate the shirt with other "almost favorite" shirts to prolong the life of this one amazing garment.
If you've read this far, you're about to be rewarded with how I'm tying in an old shirt in with your body.
Many people have favorite activities, exercises, stretches they do every day.
By choosing the same activity day in and day out, you wear down specific areas of your body much faster than if you mixed up your training routines. Much like the favorite shirt, your body has a certain amount of force it can take. After you reach the critical limit, your body begins to degrade. This comes in the form of muscle spasms, decreased flexibility, increased pain symptoms, decreased ability to perform at peak levels and eventually tears and surgery.
I tell many athletes this while I'm providing their deep tissue massage. The #1 answer I hear is, "I can't cross train, this is my sport, this is what I train for." I completely understand the need to devote the majority of ones training to sport specific activities. But there is still room to balance out your training.
An excellent example of this is when I provided deep tissue and sports massage to the performers with Cirque Du Soleil in the Orlando area. One of the gymnasts was having moderate to severe lower back pain on one side. As part of the show, she regularly stepped up with her right leg and only her right leg. Her left leg never did that activity, and that activity was done for approximately 1 hour ever night (in addition to all the other fun and crazy stuff gymnasts do.) I did deep tissue massage on her, the physical therapists did other therapeutic techniques with her. She progressed minimally but always had set backs. Eventually she did exercises that worked different parts of her body. This helped to balance out the muscle use, creating a more balanced whole and got rid of her pain! The additional exercise she did was a simple "step-up" with the left leg that mimicked the activity she did with her right leg every night. That's all it took.
In some cases, the exercises to balance will be more complex, but sometimes they can be that simple.
So remember to switch up your routines, try different exercises and bring focus to balancing your body with specific exercises and stretches for the whole and each part equally. If you don't, you'll be needing my deep tissue massage services more frequently. I don't mind seeing you more often, but wouldn't it be nice if you could help yourself out too...
If you're in the Central Florida area and want to get some great deep tissue massage or sports massage for yourself or traveling team or performance company get in touch with me through the Contact page and set something up.
Have a Great Day!
-Michael Ames, LMT
Deep Tissue & Sports Massage Specialist