How to take care of your muscles

How to take care of your muscles

Many times we don’t think about caring for our muscles in other ways than just “pumping” them with workout routines; but the advantages of knowing how to properly take care of your muscles include avoiding injuries and dealing with the results of aging is crucial.

What the research shows: “Maximal muscle strength is achieved in the 20s and 30s,” says Roseann M. Lyle, Ph.D., professor of public health at Purdue University, in West Lafayette, Indiana. “If you’re sedentary, you will start losing strength after age 50 at a rate of 2 to 5 percent per decade.” But if you keep using your muscles, through activities like weight training, you can maintain strength and flexibility even into your 90s. It’s also important to work on balance, which falters with age, and to keep muscles agile so you can react quickly.

The muscular system works with the bones to produce a wide range of movement but also plays an important role in breathing, digestion and the circulatory system. Preserve the function of the muscular system system by developing habits that reduce muscle stress and improve muscle function and strength.

If you’re not sure about becoming active or boosting your level of physical activity because you’re afraid of getting hurt, the good news is that moderate-intensity aerobic activity, like brisk walking, is generally safe for most people.

5 Keys to taking proper care of your muscles:

  1. Rest – give yourself 48 hours between working muscle groups, only work out for an hour at a time and one day a week don’t work out
  2. Stretch – stretches of tight muscles like calves, quads, traps, lats, hamstrings, etc. where you hold for 30 seconds done once or twice a day increase flexibility
  3. Massage –  helps with muscle recovery, and it’s also beneficial for improving your range of motion, your flexibility and your muscle tone by increasing it. It also helps in removing toxins and waste from your body.
  4. Breath – when you’re doing the most work on the muscle, remember to breathe
  5. Drink Water helps your metabolism to stay regulated, it flushes the toxins in your body, it energizes you by keeping you hydrated

The bottom line is – the health benefits of physical activity far outweigh the risks of getting hurt and if you take care of your muscles you will enjoy a healthier lifestyle.

Why is stretching part of massage therapy?

Why is stretching part of massage therapy?

Most everyone knows stretching is an integral part of an exercise routine. But did you know that it is crucial at many other times including when you are not exercising? It is the process of gradually applying gentle force to lengthen and lubricate muscles and joints.

Stretching can be done by anyone no matter their current physical condition or age. It is a remarkable way to improve health without wear and tear, yet contributes to overall wellness.

Why should you stretch, and when should you do it?

Stretching improves flexibility, which allows you to move your joints through their full range of motion. Flexibility is a key element of fitness; it can enhance physical performance and relieve muscle tension and stiffness. You should stretch after a warm-up and/or when cooling down after a workout, since it is easier and safer to stretch a warm muscle than a cold one. Warm-ups bring blood to the muscles and make injuries from stretching less likely. There is considerable variation in baseline flexibility between individuals.

One shouldn’t try to make big gains in flexibility in a short period of time. Stretching should be done gradually over a long period of time and then maintained to prevent slipping back towards inflexibility. Some people will enthusiastically embark on a stretching program, but then quit two weeks later because they haven’t seen any benefit. Be patient and consistent. It takes a long time.  It is very important to relax during the stretching routine. It should not be a rushed event. The “I’ve got to hurry up and do this so I can go” attitude is counterproductive. This is a time to slow your breathing and count to 30 with each stretch.

Stretching Tips

• Stretch at least three times a week to maintain flexibility.

• A session should last 10 to 20 minutes, with each static stretch held at least 20 seconds (working up to 30 seconds) and usually repeated about four times.

• Stretch before exercising or playing a sport to improve performance and perhaps prevent injury.

• Besides a general stretch of major muscle groups, stretch the specific muscles required for your sport or activity.

• Do not stretch until it hurts. If there’s any pain, stop.

• Don’t bounce. Stretching should be gradual and relaxed.

• Focus on the muscle groups you want to stretch.

• Try to stretch opposing muscles in both your arms and legs. Include static stretches plus PNF or active-isolated stretching.

• Don’t hold your breath during a stretch.

• Stretch after exercising to prevent muscles from tightening up.

Proper stretching should not be overlooked as an integral part of every fitness and health regimen. Unfortunately, most people either don’t stretch at all, stretch too little or stretch improperly. Few people understand that there are many types of stretches from which to choose.

What are the 5 benefit of getting a massage in the Winter

What are the 5 benefit of getting a massage in the Winter

Staying fit during the winter season comes with a long list of unique challenges and obstacles, but staying injury free can take even more of an effort when you introduce new, winter-specific activities like skiing, skating and sledding into your fitness routine. Before the winter activity season is in full swing, take steps today to warm up and loosen your muscles so you can hit the slopes or the rink pain free, as well as minimize after-activity soreness and fatigue.

According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine, there are two common types of stretching – static stretching and dynamic stretching – that are good for promoting overall flexibility. Research indicates that holding a static stretch for 20-30 seconds allows your muscles time to relax and elongate, thereby increasing joint range of motion. Dynamic stretching on the other hand includes low intensity exercises that mimic sport specific movements. These types of stretches are good for warming up your body prior to a sports activity, as they help increase circulation, reduce muscle tightness and help your nervous system’s ability to contract muscles forcefully.

To kick off your winter pre-season regimen, it’s a good idea to combine consistent stretching sessions with regularly scheduled monthly massages 8-12 weeks prior to the start of your favorite wintertime activity. Regular therapeutic massages prior to your desired activity allow your body to release the toxins found in tight muscles, while increasing overall flexibility and circulation. Additionally, your massage therapist can assess and monitor your body’s flexibility range, while suggesting specific stretches and other techniques that will focus on lengthening and strengthening your body’s problem areas.

Do you, your body, and your health a favor… get a massage in the winter.

1. Massage therapy is known to boost your immune system.  Studies show that regular massage therapy can boost the body’s number of “killer cells”, making it easier to fight off the many communicable diseases that float around in the Winter months.

2. Lower back pain, in particular, is a common injury culprit in the winter as you can overdo it shoveling snow, incorrectly bending over to push your children’s sleds or accidently slipping and falling on ice covered sidewalks. In fact, research indicates that 70-85% of the population will experience low back pain at some point and lower back pain is one of the most common and costly musculoskeletal problem in modern society. Luckily, research supports that massage therapy can minimize pain and disability, while increasing the speed of return to normal function.

3. With shorter, drearier days ahead, Winter can leave you feeling tired and worn out. A good deep tissue massage, can be relaxing as well as uplifting.  Massage therapy is an inexpensive way to beat the winter blues and is a healthy way to relieve stress.

4. With Winter comes dry air, and with dry air comes dry skin.  Massage therapy is proven to stabilize the collagen in your skin and also helps maintain your skin’s elasticity.  Also, whatever type of medium your therapist uses, from lotion to creams to butters, helps to moisturize your skin.  There is a reason why my shea butter budget doubles in the Winter months:)

5. Massage when coupled with warm elements help to warm the body and the soul. I incorporate heated elements in the winter months.  Using a heated pad on the table, hot towels, or hot stones in a  massage help to warm cold, rigid muscles and fascia which allows you to get the most out of your massage session.

Go ahead and book your appointment now. Trust me, you will deserve it.

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