How does a post-event massage help you to recover faster?

Six Physio attend all UK Cycling Events and are on hand to help ease aching muscles after a long day in the saddle.

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Stephen Garvey of Six Physio is part of the team you will see at every UK Cycling Event, they are easy to spot, “we’ve got big banners and flags, you can’t miss us! Everyone knows that we are there,” laughs Garvey.

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Their role on the day is to tend to hard worked muscles as riders cross the finish line.

“We start seeing people as soon as they start coming in from the sportive, with three different distances people are finishing throughout the day and we are there until everyone finishes. We typically have three to five therapists depending on the size of the event to keep waiting to a minimum.”

Riders come in with all sorts of problems but there is a clear top three

“There are three main issues that people come with, particularly with the long distance events because you are on the saddle for five hours, it is often an achy lower back, neck and shoulders or knee.”

These parts of the body have to work hard during an event and if riders have a poor bike fit or are not used to long days in the saddle it can get uncomfortable.

“Most people come in with achy stiff necks because they have been in an extended neck position all day. You need a lot of endurance to hold that position. If they have had a tough day in the hills, in and out of the saddle, they tend to get quite a stiff lower back as well. I often see more knee issues on a hilly day as the quads are working hard for a long time.”

Once on the couch the therapist will work on the problem area

“It is also about recovery,” explains Garvey, “reducing your delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) so you are more comfortable the next day. Most people have to get back to work and you don’t want to be sitting around the office with lingering aches and pains, plus most people want to get back out training again. The faster you recover the faster you can be back out there!”

Massage is very hands on, the therapist will use soft-tissue techniques to knead and manipulate your muscles which helps in numerous ways.

“Massage reduces DOMS, it increases blood flow and lymphatic system circulation, it helps to remove toxins and metabolic waste created by exercise,” explains Garvey.

“If you have spent a long time on the saddle typically you can get quite tight and stiff, your muscles can shorten in your riding position and become chronically tight so you lose flexibility. Loss of flexibility is related to muscle soreness and can lead to injuries in the future. Blood flow through tight muscles can be reduced and you can experience ischemic pain so massage is a great way to reduce this.”

Next time you are at a UK Cycling Event look out for the red flags of Six Physio and head over for a helping hand with your recovery.

“Riders normally pay £10 for a fifteen-minute session. We also have loyalty cards, if you buy four sessions then you get the fifth one free and if you pick up a UKCE discount card you get 20% of any Six Physio treatment at our clinics in London.”

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