When was the last time you sat down and thought about your muscles? Probably not anytime in the last few weeks, months, or even years. In fact, most of us don’t consciously think about our muscles. They’re a functional part of our body that lets us walk, run, sit, and stand. But muscles are more important than that. Apart from being essential for locomotion, muscles are also essential for our balance and posture, for joint stability, and for absorbing shock and heat. Nearly 85 percent of the heat produced in the body is the result of muscle contraction1.
So show your muscles some TLC by trying to incorporate these four simple rules into your routine.
1- Stay active
Muscles that are not used tend to get smaller and weaker with time, known as muscle atrophy. The only way to stop it is with regular physical activity. The good news is that any type of physical activity will do. Walking, running, swimming, and biking are some examples of great activities to pick-up (if you’re not already active).
If these activities don’t appeal to you then stick to walking – it’s free, requires no extra equipment, and people of all fitness levels can do it. Just remember that whatever activity you start, be sure to stick to it. Regular activate is the key.
2- Start stretching and improve your flexibility
With increasing age comes a decline in flexibility. Stretching helps prevent the loss of mobility, protects us from injuries, and helps loosen up the muscles. Tight muscles are more prone to injury especially when asked to perform under stress, as would happen during an accidental fall or while carrying out physical activities.
Stretch regularly as part of your post-workout routine. Consider stretching activities such as yoga or tai-chi, both of which help to lengthen the muscles.
3- Avoid workout injuries
In your quest to take care of your muscles, do your best to avoid sporting or exercise injuries. When exercising keep the following things in mind2:
- Every workout should begin with a warm-up and end with a cool-down period
- Think about adding glutamine to your pre- or post-workout routine. Glutamine is one of the best amino acids for injury recovery. It remains one of the most popular supplements on the market. It is a naturally occurring amino acid and it acts as a great source of fuel.
- Ease into your exercise. When you begin an exercise routine or start a new workout program, start slowly then gradually build up the intensity, duration, and frequency.
- Cross-train. Vary your workout. Don’t overuse one set of muscles. Repeating the same muscle movements can lead to overuse and repetitive-use injuries.
Use your diet as a way to nourish your muscles. Good nutrition is a big part of having healthy and happy muscles. This means getting your daily recommended dose of calcium, vitamin D, and all your essential amino acids. Essential amino acids are the amino acids that our bodies need but cannot make. They must be obtained through our diet or amino acid supplements. So if you’re not able to meet your daily nutritional requirements in terms of fruits, veggies, and protein consumption, then think about adding supplements to fill any nutritional gaps.