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A Step-by-Step Guide for a Speedy Marathon Recovery

Learn how to recover fast from long races and skip the weeks of aches and pains

Jenny Hadfield
Co-author of the best selling Marathoning for Mortals and the newly released Running for Mortals.

Post race recovery begins the minute you cross the finish line.  Sure, you’ll recover post-race regardless of what you do, but did you know there is a short window of opportunity to affect the speed at which this happens?  And the faster you recover, the sooner you’ll get back into your running program.  Follow this Step-by-Step Guide post race and you’ll be well on your way to a speedy recovery.

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Heat and massage therapy provide a lot of the same benefits, and when used together, they increase each other’s advantages. Those seeking the relaxing effects of these conjunctive therapies often opt for a hot stone massages, get a shoulder rub before a warm bath or use heated massage pads. Now with our MojiHeat Heated Massage Ball and Roller you can experience the same positive results from the heat-massage combination without a lot of expense:

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Heart health and exercise go hand-in-hand. Not only does staying active enhance your heart's pumping power, but also it's necessary to have a healthy heart to safely engage in intense aerobic training. A study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology revealed that cardio workouts are not the cure-all for heart-related conditions. In fact, focusing solely on extreme physical training may even damage the heart.

Researchers evaluated the heart health among three different male profiles: one group of athletes between the ages of 50 and 67, another between the ages of 26 and 40 and a control group of men ages 50 and older. The athletic participants had all competed in distance running or rowing in either the British national or Olympic team. Members of the comparison group were healthy but had never undergone endurance training.

"Focusing solely on intense physical training may damage the heart."

During the study, participants underwent cardiac magnetic resonance imaging with late gadolinium enhancement to assess the cardiac structure, function and myocardial fibrosism, which occurs when the heart's tissue stiffens and scars and can lead to cardiovascular conditions, including heart failure. The results confirmed that half of the older-athletes group had fibrosis in their hearts, while neither the young athletes nor the control group showed signs of this condition.

Researchers haven't made a clear-cut connection between fibrosis and exercise, but it seems worth the effort for athletes to practice other heart-healthy regimens aside from cardio, including massage therapy. The Mayo Clinic lists high blood pressure and stress as risk factors for heart disease. Additionally, the National Sleep Foundation cites sleep deprivation as another element that increases one's chance for developing a cardiovascular issue. Discover how massage therapy may help:

Massage therapy may reduce the level of stress hormones in the body

The Mayo Clinic explained that cortisol and adrenaline are released during stressful situations. Cortisol's presence causes an increase in glucose in the blood stream, allowing your body to more readily repair tissues. While this is crucial during a fight-or-flight process, cortisol can be detrimental when there is no real threat. Long-term activation of this main stress hormone can lead to heart disease as well as other non-cardiovascular issues, including digestive problems, depression, and memory and concentration impairment.

Many people seek the help of massage therapy to relax. Beyond the soothing music, the gentle stroking and kneading can change hormone levels in the body and promote heightened physical and psychological well-being. A 2008 study published in the journal Psycho-Oncology found that when either massage or aromatherapy was applied to patients undergoing intensive chemotherapy, their cortisol levels significantly dropped. That is, massage therapy has been shown to reduce the main stress hormone in the body, which may benefit your heart health.

Blood pressure requires fluidity in the circulatory system

High blood pressure, otherwise known as hypertension, places a higher stress level on your arteries. This added work creates microscopic tears along the artery walls that may then transform into scar tissue, according to the American Heart Association. As a result, particles of fat and cholesterol may get caught on this scar tissue, which can prevent your heart from receiving adequate oxygen and nutrients.

A study published in the International Journal of Preventative Medicine revealed that massage therapy may be a safe and effective way to reduce hypertension. Researchers divided 50 pre-hypertensive women into two groups. The test group received a Swedish massage for 10-15 minutes up to three times per week, totaling 10 sessions. The control group received no massage but relaxed in the same environment for an equal amount of time. For both groups, blood pressure was measured immediately before and after and again 72 hours after the massage.

Artery clogged with plaque.High blood pressure can put you at risk for heart disease.

The results revealed that those participants who received the massage had lower blood pressure than the control group both immediately and 72 hours after the treatment. During a massage, your muscles and arteries are manipulated, promoting an increased flow of blood and oxygen. Though the study evaluated Swedish massage, other forms of this therapy may help as well. The study even suggested that beyond receiving treatment from a licensed massage therapist, you may see the same results using a personal massager at home.

Eliminate sleep deprivation and interruptions for a healthier heart

The National Sleep Foundation explained that there is a link between sleep deprivation and heart disease. Waking during the night or not getting enough sleep can disrupt biological processes, such as metabolism, and cause fluctuating blood pressure. In essence, sleep issues deprive your body of crucial recharging time. Specifically, adults need seven to nine hours of sleep, according to the National Institutes of Health. Massage therapy may reduce stress levels and muscle soreness, both of which can diminish your quality of sleep.

Your heart takes care of you, so return the favor with massage therapy.

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Whether it's a hard workout at the gym or a long day with the kids, sore feet can be experienced from a wide variety of sources. The heel of the foot can often be the most susceptible part to pain, and one of the most common causes of discomfort within the heel is plantar fasciitis. The American Chiropractic Association reports that more than 2 million people in the U.S. are affected by plantar fasciitis every year, and the condition arises when the plantar fascia, the ligament that connects the heel bone to the toes, becomes inflamed and produces pain.

The Mayo Clinic states that plantar fasciitis is relatively common with runners, and other types of risk factors for the ailment stem from strenuous pressure placed upon the feet from physical activity, from inadequate shoe support to being overweight. Treatment for plantar fasciitis can range from everything to medication to physical therapy to even surgery in some severe cases. However, there has been plenty of research devoted to linking treating plantar fasciitis with massage therapy. Check out how a foot massage may provide relief to symptoms of plantar fasciitis, as well as the specific techniques to apply to your foot when faced with this condition:

Reducing pain levels

In a case study published in the Journal of the Australian Association of Massage Therapists, massage therapy was analyzed to see whether it could be considered a sufficient treatment option for chronic plantar fasciitis. The examination was performed upon a subject who was a dancer suffering from chronic plantar fasciitis. The participant would stay enrolled in the dance classes, while also receiving two 30-minute massage therapy sessions every week for four weeks. During the massage therapy meetings, the therapist would apply deep moist heat to the site of where the heel pain was occurring, while also providing Swedish massage techniques to the upper and lower leg. The session would then conclude with Swedish massage being applied to the entire foot, and the subject was then asked to provide a pain level score between zero and 10 (zero being no pain, 10 being the worst pain).

Any activity that puts strenuous pressure upon your feet can put you at risk for plantar fasciitis. Any activity that puts strenuous pressure upon your feet can put you at risk for plantar fasciitis.

Two months prior to receiving the massage therapy sessions, the participant reported pain level scores of eight to the researchers. Mid-way through the study, the subject reported a score of four, and by the end of the examination, a two was reported. The researchers also noted that the physical amount of dancing the client could perform continued to increase throughout the study, allowing the study authors to conclude that massage may be a beneficial resource for comforting plantar fasciitis pain.

Ice massage and plantar fasciitis

Inflammation is one of the most noted symptoms of plantar fasciitis, which is why some researchers believe that implementing ice massage tactics could be an effective source for alleviating heel discomfort. The American Academy of Family Physicians recommended trying out an ice massage to relieve plantar fasciitis, and also provides specific instructions to this process. First, take a small paper cup filled with water and freeze it. Once frozen, apply the ice over the area of discomfort, rubbing in a circular motion while applying gentle pressure for between 10-15 minutes. This strategy can help treat any inflammation occurring at the heel, and can also be performed after finishing a workout or enduring a long day on your feet.

"A personal massager can help reduce inflammation in your feet."

Self foot massage

Another way you can potentially alleviate stress and tension caused by plantar fasciitis is by providing yourself with a foot massage. The Moji Foot PRO is an easy-to-use and portable personal massager that has been found to be an excellent source for addressing this nagging condition. Simply sitting down and rubbing your toes and feet upon the stainless steel massage spheres can help out with everything from reducing inflammation to stretching out the fascia (bottom) of your foot as well as increasing circulation into the foot. You can even place the Moji Foot PRO in the freezer, to chill the spheres for your own personal ice foot massage.

Additional treatment

In addition to a foot massage, there are a few other things you can do to address symptoms of plantar fasciitis. For starters, if pain is significantly severe, you should cease physical activity until you notice the pain is decreasing. Hydration is also extremely important during this recovery process, because it can help flush out toxins within the body. Even taking a few over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen, can help provide some relief to your feet, in addition to massage.

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Being a mom is no easy task. Between wiping runny noses, carting kids to piano lessons, packing lunches, keeping up with housework and managing a career, some days you probably just feel burnt out. While warm hugs from your little ones make it all worthwhile, having some extra energy would be nice, too. Need a super mom boost? Check out these three tips:

1. Get a massage

Sleep is important but scarce for new moms. A 2014 study by PLOSone measured postpartum mothers' daytime sleepiness at six, 12 and 18 weeks after the child was born. Researchers found that even at the last measurement, 50 percent of new moms experienced "excessive daytime sleepiness."

Sometimes, a busy mom just needs a little rejuvenation to get that pep back in her step, and a massage may help. Not only does this therapy increase blood flow and help you feel refreshed, but it can also improve sleep. A study published in the Journal of Holistic Nursing found that three minutes of massage before bed helped women with dementia get 36 more minutes of sleep. Using a personal massager at night, such as applying the Moji Curve PRO to your lower back, may help you achieve the same results.

2. Work out

A morning jog, an evening run or a lunch break at the gym – it doesn't matter how you work exercise into your daily or weekly routine so long as this healthy habit makes it into your schedule. According to the Mayo Clinic, regular physical activity may boost energy by improving your muscle strength, endurance and cardiovascular health efficiency. However, even a single workout may enhance vitality.

Researchers from the University of Georgia reviewed data from past studies and found that in 91 percent of cases, a single session of exercise fought fatigue better than the sedentary control conditions. That being said, this one-fitness-session technique best served participants' energy levels when it lasted longer than 20 minutes. Even if you can't manage hitting the gym every morning at this point in your life, squeezing in a quick workout may give you the pick-me-up you need to focus at work or drive the kids to extracurricular activities.

Little boy and mom playing chess.Go ahead – indulge in your goofy side. It might boost your energy!

3. Laugh

Health.com noted that according to Dr. Robert R. Provine, laughing raises your blood pressure and heart rate which in turn helps with energy levels. So find reasons to let out a chuckle. Watch a funny YouTube video during your lunch break, get inspired by your kids' goofy antics and personalities, crack jokes (no matter how lame they may be) and don't forget to smile.

Next time you're feeling a little sluggish, skip the caffeine and use one of these strategies instead.

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