Kinesiology Tape: A Secret Trick to Speed Up Your Workout Recovery?
Wanna say “Stick It” to muscle pain…?
Press fast forward on the clock with this nifty hack so you can get back to your regularly scheduled programming of maximizing those gains.
If you’ve ever competed in a race, or if you’ve had the pleasure of requiring physical therapy, you’ve probably come across the ultra-stretchy neon-colored phenomenon that is kinesiology tape.
Popular among runners, cyclists, and other competitive athletes, it’s typically worn on common problem areas like the knees, shoulders, back, elbows and ankles. As groovy looking (or silly, depending on who you ask) as it may be, it serves a real purpose beyond the aesthetic, and might just be your ticket to a faster recovery.
Whether you’re healing from a minor injury or simply waiting for the soreness to subside after a particularly intense gym session, kinesiology tape could help you do the impossible and fast forward the clock on your recovery time. But first…
What is Kinesiology Tape?
Sometimes referred to as ‘KT tape’ after the brand that popularized it, kinesiology tape is a type of athletic tape applied directly to the skin to be used therapeutically as well as to enhance performance.
Unlike other forms of athletic tape, it is designed to mimic the elasticity of skin so you can move freely using your full range of motion while still sporting the tape.
How Does Kinesiology Tape Work?
So, how does it work? The idea is simple: The tape spurs a recoiling effect upon adhering to the skin, lifting the skin slightly and decompressing the tissues, muscles and joints underneath. Subsequently, creating this microscopic space beneath the surface results in a few key outcomes:
- Alleviating pressure and irritation in your joints
- Reducing inflammation and swelling in your muscles
- Encouraging blood flow and circulation in your lymphatic system.
Why Should You Use Kinesiology Tape?
While research on the topic is mixed, studies have shown beneficial results from using kinesiology tape to alleviate pain and fatigue while simultaneously speeding up the healing process. Here’s what it can do for your body:
Mitigates Pain and Fatigue - By reducing swelling, inflammation, and bruising, kinesiology tape offers a holistic alternative (or adjunct method) to pain medications and anti-inflammatory drugs so you can ease the pain with minimum side effects.
Prevent Cramps and Spasms - Improving circulation and blood flow helps deliver the much needed oxygen and nutrients to your muscles to avoid those pesky cramps and muscle spasms. Adios, charlie horse!
Accelerate Muscle Recovery - Kinesiology tape has also been thought to assist in ridding your body of lactic acid – the main culprit to the seemingly inevitable soreness after a particularly intense workout.
Gives Extra Support - From sprains to shin splints, tendonitis to tennis elbow, taping up can provide that extra support you need while allowing for the mobility to keep on keepin’ on your workout regimen.
Like most good things, this nifty Kinesiology Tape hack does come with some caveats: Those with preexisting conditions such as diabetes, active cancer, deep vein thrombosis, missing lymph nodes, certain skin conditions and allergies should steer clear or consult their doctor before using kinesiology tape. In addition, the tape should not be applied on open wounds.
Give it a try next time you’re wailing on a particular muscle group in the gym and see if you notice a difference. Who knows - post workout pains and slow muscle gains could well be a thing of the past with a few strips of tape!
Maggie Johnson | MME Lifestyle Contributor
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