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A common misconception of receiving a foot massage is that it’s more of a treat for yourself rather than serving a purpose for your health. While this perception is mainly attributed to the fact that the feet don’t seem as important of a body part to experience a massage when compared to the back and legs, quite the opposite is true in reality. Whether you choose to go with the services of a professional massage therapist or provide yourself with a personal foot massager, you’ll be producing several health benefits that go well beyond simply relieving sore feet. Take a look at some of the overlooked health advantages to receiving a foot massage:
“Foot massages have been found to improve circulation and ease tension.”
The act of a foot massage has been practiced for thousands of years as an ancient therapeutic technique. One such style of foot massage that has been noted to have been used by the ancient Egyptians is called reflexology, which uses specific finger and hand techniques upon pressure points of the foot without applying lotion or oil. A study conducted by researchers from Michigan State University has found that reflexology may even provide relief for symptoms of cancer. Dr. Gwen Wyatt, a professor at Michigan State University and lead author of the study, weighed in on how her team’s analysis as well as the work of others could help make foot massages a more recognizable treatment for a variety of ailments.
“It’s always been assumed that it’s a nice comfort measure, but to this point we really have not, in a rigorous way, documented the benefits,” Wyatt said in a statement. “This is the first step toward moving a complementary therapy from fringe care to mainstream care.”
Researchers from Harvard University also point out the several health benefitsassociated with receiving a foot massage. They listed foot massages being able to help with everything from stimulating other muscles of the body to improving circulation, easing muscle pain and decreasing overall bodily tension. They also listed that three out of four American adults will experience some variation of a foot ailment at some point in their lives, furthering advocating the importance of receiving a foot massage.
If you’re going to try out a foot massage on your own, there are a few tips to consider to ensure you’re properly providing your feet with a beneficial technique. For starters, gently rub some skin lotion into your feet, slowly massage the substance into every crevice of your foot. Next, begin to administer a deeper massage by pressing your knuckles into your foot, and slowly, yet firmly, kneading the area out. You can also gently pull your toes apart from each other one by one, lightly rubbing the area in between. This will help expand those muscles that rarely receive any attention.
While there’s nothing wrong with stretching your toes and rubbing your feet with your own hands, there are also more easier, beneficial means to providing yourself with the ultimate foot massage. The Moji 360 Foot Massager is a revolutionary device that makes giving yourself a relieving foot massage easier than ever before. The stationary device uses massage spheres that rotate 360 degrees, which work to stretch and massage your entire foot out in all areas. It’s a one size fits all device, and can be an essential resource for relief when it comes to everything from plantar fasciitis pain in the heel to just trying to relax your sore feet after a rough day.
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Endurance athletes who take part in marathons, triathlons or century bike rides typically have fitness goals of strength and stamina. Your body needs to be strong enough to carry you long distances, and it needs to have the proper training in order to function for extended periods of time.
Before a race it’s crucial to plan a training program to prepare, and most of this will include running or cycling through intervals of faster and slower speeds, up and down hills and longer and shorter distances. It should also include cross training with strength exercises and core workouts such as Pilates for total body training.
Another factor that should be included in a pre-race program is athletic recovery and stretching. Whether you’re a new or seasoned endurance athlete, you’ll be putting your body through more intense challenges, which is sure to leave you with sore muscles from time to time, but it can also increase your risk of injury. To prevent getting hurt and having a setback, you need to take the proper precautions, which include stretching and massage.
A century bike ride will take you 100 miles, and it will certainly test your mental and physical prowess. This may seem like a lofty goal, but it’s certainly an achievable one that many endurance cyclists aspire to complete.
Being able to bike 100 miles requires serious commitment, dedication, planning and training. Once you decide to take part in a century ride, you need to starting working at least eight weeks beforehand to prepare your mind and body for the challenge ahead. Your training program should consist of long and short rides as well as intervals of different speeds, resistance levels, terrain and hills. It’s also a good idea to cross training with weight lifting to strengthen your muscles and exercises such as Pilates that provide stretching and improve posture.
Another key component is nutrition. Your body won’t be able to last long if it is not being fueled properly. Even slight dehydration can completely zap your energy levels and cause sore musclesand cramps. If this does happen, giving your muscles a massage can help. Additionally, eating the right amount of carbohydrates and fats is needed to fuel your muscles and provide you with the nutrients to keep you going mile after mile. You’ll certainly want to pack snacks to stop and eat during your ride to replenish fuel sources, curb hunger pangs and boost energy. Remember not to pack any foods that are too heavy or hard to transport. A muffin may sound delicious, but it can be messy to eat. Also, be sure not to try any new foods in case it affects your stomach negatively and you have to stop mid-race.
Here are some tasty, helpful snack options to pack for your century ride:
Whether you’re preparing for a cycling race, training for a triathlon or simply appreciate the exhilarating cardio workout you get from riding, your body (the lower half in particular) is certainly being challenged.
Most of your focus will be on the meat of your training – developing programs for each ride to incorporate different terrain, speeds, hills and other aspects of riding itself. But it’s also important to remember that your training doesn’t stop once your session ends. In fact, time spent after you hop off your bike is just as important as time spent on the saddle. Cooling down and taking part in athletic recovery reduces your risk of sore muscles and injuries, which can sideline you and set you back in your schedule. This is especially problematic if you are on a deadline for a race.
After each bike ride you should be taking the time to stretch out your muscles and allow your mind and body to return to their resting states. It’s also useful to incorporate self massage into your routine each week, especially after an intense ride. Massage will help loosen up muscles even further, which is important so you don’t create any imbalances.
There are several key muscles you should focus your massager on after a bike ride: