There’s a reason why older athletes are often referred to as “Masters.” This isn’t lip service; it is a recognition that older athletes have often put in years or even decades of work on their sport of choice. This experience can give them a distinct advantage over their younger peers as well as much wisdom to impart. However, we cannot ignore the fact that older bodies often take longer to recover from punishing workouts and that years of repetitive movements can lead to long-term injuries. Masters athletes often struggle with reoccurring injuries, tight muscles, pulls, and tears. Sometimes the solution is simply to add in more rest and stop trying to keep up with the young guns who can bounce back from two-a-day workouts or falls on the court.
Masters athletes should also consider trying structural integration, a type of bodywork treatment that could increase an older athlete’s mobility and improve form and functionality.
What Structural integration Can Do for Older Athletes
The muscles of the body are encased in a thin layer of tissue called the fascia. As we age, our fascia can become hard and constrict the muscles. This constriction can limit mobility and pull muscles out of alignment, which sets an athlete up for eventual injury. Have you noticed that your shoulders have been tight for months? Maybe you can’t throw the ball as well or hold a barbell overhead. You probably assume that your muscles are tight, but it could be that your fascia is constricting your movement.
Tight and restricted fascia is especially prevalent in masters athletes. This is a factor of age and experience. You’ve been on this earth longer than most, and your fascia may harden naturally and constrict. Your many years of athletic practice can also contribute to tight fascia even if you only consider yourself a weekend warrior. No matter what sport you pursue, you’ll eventually build up stubborn and constrictive scar tissue that will limit your movement.
Structural integration is a bodywork process that loosens tight pockets of the fascia and breaks up scar tissue. When the fascia softens, your muscles and limbs will be able to move better. At my structural integration practice in Boise, my clients notice that they have better mobility even after the first session. Many of them also report less pain.
Keep on Trucking
As a masters athlete, it is more important than ever that you take good care of your body. All the young guns on the field can bounce back from injuries in a way that you can’t. You have to be smarter and give your body the proper care and rest that it deserves. If you are a masters athlete who lives in Boise and wants to stay on the field longer and keep improving in your favorite sport or athletic hobby, schedule your first structural integration appointment today.