Are you feeling tight and sore in your muscles?
It could be knots in the tops of the shoulders, a tightness in the lower back or a nagging ache in your calves. Perhaps it’s an uncomfortable feeling between your shoulder blades, or sore hamstrings from that run you did on the weekend.
You wonder if it’s normal to feel this way, to ache all the time.
Muscle tightness tends to be caused by three main things:
1) Muscle shortening
Spend alot of time sitting? Or perhaps you stand all day? Maybe you cycle for hours? When you spend alot of time in certain positions, the muscles that hold you there get tight.
2) Repetitive use and stress
A muscle that is used alot gets tight. If you repeatedly type, jog, carry a bag or use a mouse, you will increase your muscle tension over time. Stress also increases tightness in muscles.
3) Lack of recovery
Our muscles will protest if they are not given opportunities to recover. There are many great ways to recover muscles, but do we do them?
Tight muscles are distracting and exhausting. They affect your performance at work and during sport. Muscle tightness can lead to injury if it is not managed adequately.
Here are 7 surefire ways to get on top of tight muscles. The more of them you do regularly, the better you will feel.
Water decreases the effect of gravity on our body, allowing us to unload our muscles and move in different ways to what we do on land. Swimming, walking and exercising in water assist with muscle recovery from our daily activities.
Massage should not just be seen as a luxury. Getting a regular professional massage can be a great way to relieve tension, improve circulation and clear the waste products that overactive muscles produce.
Use of a foam roller is an effective and simple ‘do-it-yourself’ way to release and recover your muscles. The roller is made of a lightweight, dense foam and by ‘rolling’ your body parts over it, you can have the same impact on your muscles that a massage can.
If you don’t do any exercise, some gentle activity can help to move and stretch out your muscles. If you do exercise, but always do the same type of activity, add in some variety to move your muscles in different ways.
Spending 5 to 10 minutes stretching at the end of each day can make a big difference to how you feel waking up in the morning. Make sure you stretch all parts of you body, and don’t push into pain.
Stress increases the tension in our muscles, so if you think this may be contributing to your muscle soreness, put strategies in place to manage it. Mediation, approaching an employer about your workload, or speaking to a friendly listener can all help.
Take a Break
Muscle tension often builds up when everything at work and home piles up on us. If it has been a while since you have had a proper holiday or break from everything, now might be a good time to plan one.
There are many simple ways that we can reduce the pain and fatigue from tight, achy muscles. These strategies will help you by:
- Relieving the pain, which will stop you feeling so tired
- Decreasing muscle tightness so you no longer feel those ‘knots’
- Improving your range of movement so you feel freer and function better
If you need help with any of these things, be sure to chat to your Physio, massage therapist, gym instructor, boss, family and/ or friends.