Why do we have muscles?
Movement is possible because our muscles contract and relax. There are four basic properties of muscles:
- Contractibility or the ability to shorten when innervated.
- Extensibility or the ability to stretch beyond their normal resting length
- Elasticity or the ability to rebound to their resting length
- Tonicity or the state of hardness of the muscle
When muscles are sparingly used, as in the case of people with a sedentary lifestyle or during space travel, it begins to lose all these properties. Now movement becomes difficult.
If tendons are subjected to weight-bearing movement like strength training, they become stronger and more resistant and function improves. However, if tendons are subject to an excessive load or monotonous movements at work (like keyboard or cellphone overuse) they become irritated and inflamed.
Every muscle in your body is enclosed in a bag of tough connective tissue known as fascia. Fascia is important for holding your muscles in their proper place in your body. Fascia is so tough, it doesn’t allow the muscle room to expand. By stretching your muscles under specific conditions, you can actually stretch your fascia and give your muscles more room to grow.
The key to effective fascial stretching is the pump. The best time to stretch to expand the bags that are holding in your muscles is when your muscles are pumped up full of blood. When your muscles are fully pumped up, they are pressing against the fascia. By stretching hard at that time, you increase that pressure on the fascia greatly, which can lead to expansion of the fascia.
Only by lifting weights you can ensure the four basic properties of muscles are not lost over a period of time. When people don’t incorporate strength training, they deny their body the right to rebuild the muscles.
Training large groups of muscles in a functional capacity is the best way to strengthen all your muscles. Strength training is mandatory for all !
By Gita Krishna Raj
CEO Maverick, Holistic Lifestyle coach C.H.E.K Institute USA, Metabolic Typing Advisor, Health excel UK