Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Muscle Health 101

Maintaining muscle health is one of the most important things you can focus on, as it benefits overall health just as much as it does your muscles!

Here are 6 simple things you can do to help your muscles stay pain free!

1)    Avoid overuse.  If you use a particular muscle or group of muscles repeatedly, they will become over worked and possibly tear and/or develop trigger points.  Try to take breaks, or mix up your activities so that you aren’t doing the same thing over and over.  Also, if you work on a computer all day, going home and spending all night online might not be the greatest idea.
2)    Ice is a great help to tired or overworked muscles. If you are on your feet all day, soak them in a bucket of cold water.  If it is forearms, fill a sink and plunge them in.  Use a garden hose on calves and legs after a vigorous workout, or put an ice pack on an overworked shoulder.
3)    Eat anti-inflammatory foods and avoid pro-inflammatory foods.  This means choosing food like fresh vegetables and fruit, nuts, seeds, fish, and turmeric, and avoiding food like sugar, processed snack foods and meat, refined grains, trans fats and dairy as much as possible.
4)    Strength train.  Stronger muscles can withstand much more repetitive use, are more resistant to trigger point formation, help maintain your metabolism, posture, and just look good too!  Research has shown that working your muscles to fatigue even once per week is helpful, so no one has an excuse not to anymore!
5)    Move.  Your body needs motion to lubricate joints, pump blood back to the heart, oxygenate and feed nutrients to cells, and keep all your systems functioning.  Maintaining full range of motion helps keep muscles and joints loose and limber too.
6)    Get regular massage!  Massage therapy helps relax muscle, alleviate trigger points, maintain range of motion, reduce stress, and the list goes on!