Feeling stiff? pain? Can’t you move like you used to?
One or more tight muscles may be the culprit. But what does it mean to have tense muscles?
Dr. Neil H. Patel, a family medicine specialist at Providence St. Joseph’s Hospital in Orange County, California, likens muscles to “rubber bands with a certain level of natural stretch and elasticity.” When someone says their muscles are tight, it means that they are like stiff rubber bands, unable to move freely and not as elastic as they should be.
why muscles get tight
Claire Thatch, a physiotherapist in sports medicine at Ohio State University, says there are many reasons why muscles feel tight. Wexner Medical Center in Columbus. “In some cases, the muscle length is less than ideal,” she explains. This can be caused by sitting too long or habitually staying in the same position too often.
In other cases, “chronic muscle tightness can also be due to muscle weakness or fatigue,” says Thatch. There is a possibility that
“The body works on a simple principle: ‘if you don’t use it, it will die,'” adds Patel. Therefore, infrequent exercise and stretching can reduce the natural movement and integrity of muscle fibers and tendons.
One of the biggest and most common causes of strained muscles is typically sitting while you’re concentrating on your computer or other gadget.
Dean Somerset, a kinesiologist and medical exercise expert based in Alberta, Canada, says, “I always keep my hip flexors short when I’m sitting, but in a low-load (low-load) position. We are keeping it to ”. After all, hip flexors not only pull your knees toward your chest, they help stabilize your spine and keep it in the correct position. The top of your bicep is pulled forward, pulling your hamstrings so tight that you can’t touch your toes.
When you’re sitting, on the other hand, you might be slouching in front of your keyboard, tablet, or phone. To do. As a result, these muscles become shortened and fatigued.
How to release chronically tight muscles
“If your muscles are toned, you’re not working at 100 percent capacity,” says Kelly Collins, a certified personal trainer based in Costa Mesa, California. “Thus, muscle relaxation not only relieves stress and reduces the risk of injury, but also improves overall functional performance and the results obtained from those workouts.”
If you’re doing static stretching (traditional stretching that painlessly moves a muscle to its longest position and holds for 15 to 20 seconds), “It’s important to do it after your body has warmed up and you’re done. Along with any exercise or activity that you are doing, doing a warm-up will give you better results in both stretching and working out.
Tight muscles can overprotect the body’s neuromuscular control system. This system includes an array of neurons and protective tissue that must fire (or not fire) in specific ways for certain muscles to reach their full physiological potential, Sam says. Set explains.
Therefore, in order to fully stretch a muscle, the neuromuscular system must release its resistance to stretching that far. This is done by telling the muscle not to worry and that it is fine to stretch this far.
Exercise physiologists commonly use a stretching technique called “proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation” (PNF) to do this. There are many different ways to perform PNF stretches, but many experts believe that the most effective version for combating excessive strain, increasing muscle length, and improving range of motion is the agonist contraction technique. I believe it is the hold-relax technique used. It’s a bite, but it’s easy to play at home with the help of friends and family.
Here’s how to perform stretches on commonly tight hamstrings, but this same type of stretch can be applied to tight muscles. Do it at the end of the day.
Lie on the floor and extend one leg straight up toward the ceiling. Have your partner hold your lifted leg firmly with one hand on your heel and the other on your knee.
Have your partner press your leg and move it toward your chest until you feel a slight stretch in your hamstrings. Have your partner hold this stretch for 10 seconds. Stretch and relax.
With your partner still holding their leg firmly in the same stretch position, contract your hamstrings and press them into your partner’s hands to “fight” the stretch for 6 seconds. Both are working in opposite directions, so the legs should not move.
Now use your quadriceps to bring your legs closer to your chest to deepen the stretch. Hold for 30 seconds. You should be able to stretch your hamstrings more than you did in step 2.
5 Tips for Better Stretching
Adding these strategies to your routine will help you perform all your stretches more effectively.
Improve core strength
Holly Perkins, a Los Angeles-based certified strength and conditioning specialist and author of Lift to Get Lean, explains that short, tight muscles are often the result of a weak core. increase. That’s because the core is responsible for stabilizing the spine and pelvis. So if your core is weak and your spine and pelvis are not properly aligned, you need to tighten your muscles.
Perkins recommends building core strength through core stabilization exercises like planks and the “dead bug.” A dead bug lies on the floor on its back, exercising its trunk muscles, raising and lowering its arms above its head and legs, and bending its knees alternately to look like a dead bug lying on its back It is executed by doing
strengthen muscle groups
Strengthening other muscle groups besides the core can also help reduce muscle tension, says Thatch. When strengthening, it is recommended that strength training be done slowly rather than trying to do many things at once.
“By strengthening that muscle group gradually over time, you can remove those sensations more permanently, and over time provide more dynamic stability to the joints they support (the We make sure it works efficiently the way it was built mechanically,” says Such. .
Combine stretching with foam rolling
Spend some time on the foam roller before jumping into your favorite stretch. Research results on foam rolling efficacy and optimal application mixtureThere is some evidence that it can be a warm-up activity that helps improve flexibility before exercise, and it can also reduce muscle fatigue and soreness when used after exercise.
Collins recommends stretching and foam rolling for at least 10 minutes three times a week, regardless of your activity level.
“Dehydration can also cause muscle tightness, especially since muscles retain water, especially after exercise,” Patel points out.
Make sure you are drinking enough water.of US National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine It is recommended that men drink 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) daily and women drink 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) daily. About 20% of your daily water needs are normally met through food. The rest should be yours, and plain water is usually the more effective drink you can get your hands on.
In addition to stretching, Patel recommends getting a massage from a qualified professional. Massage guns, such as Theragun and his HyperIce, also help loosen and relax muscles, he says. These devices are widely used in professional sports to help athletes keep their tone when they are not actively participating in the game.
fight the effects of aging
Patel points out that muscle stiffness may seem worrisome, but it’s not a serious medical problem.
Dr. Akash Bajaj, a longevity expert and founder of Remedy Wellness & Anti Aging, a concierge wellness practice in Marina del Rey, California, says it’s common to experience muscle strain. “As you age, you can expect to experience muscle tightening episodes due to lack of use, injury, and depletion of certain key minerals such as magnesium,” he said.
Magnesium is essential for keeping muscles loose and supple. “That’s why we should take utmost care to keep ourselves youthful and treat our bodies as soon as possible,” advises Bajaj.
Just like brushing and flossing your teeth, moving as much as you can and incorporating stretching into your daily routine will keep your muscles supple and ready to move well in old age, says Patel. adds.