Tis the season for making resolutions, and a significant portion of us will be resolving to change something health-related. Rather than just talk about general resolutions related to health that you can read anywhere, we’d like to discuss some good things you could resolve to do for your muscles.
You may think “What’s a chiropractor doing talking about muscles?” But muscles have a huge effect on chiropractic health! For instance, imbalances in muscle strength can cause the skeleton to be out of alignment. Muscles themselves can also be affected by improper alignment for good or ill, and a source of literal or metaphorical headaches.
So what are some things you can do to treat your muscles well?
Most of us are familiar with the fact that we should be drinking water, and lots of it. But what are the benefits of actually following through? Your muscles appreciate the effort in the following ways
- Reduced cramping – drinking water helps to keep your muscles willing to work as they’re designed
- Lubricated joints – so your muscles have to do less work to move the body in the way they’re supposed to
- Strength – oxygen is required for your muscles to work well, and water helps get it to them
How much water should an average person drink in a day? According to an article by the Mayo Clinic, while best practices will vary depending on individual needs, approximately 1 gallon of fluids a day for men and 3/4 gallon for women is a good place to start. Around 20% of fluids come from food, and the rest from water and other beverages. This means that if you drink no other beverages, about 0.8 gallons of water a day for men and 0.6 gallons for women is the target. Of course, you can drink more just to be sure! If water isn’t your thing, other beverages can work, but be careful of ingesting too much sugar or other substances as you’re trying to hit your water goals.
Muscles naturally contract and become tight when left to their own devices. Stretching helps muscle fibers practice moving and sliding over one another. This improves flexibility and range of motion, and therefore helps to reduce pain caused by muscles which are simply too tight.
One common instance of this is found in many people who sit at a desk working on a computer on a regular basis. Bad posture rolls the shoulders forward through the tightening of the chest muscles. These muscles get tight as a result and need stretching to loosen up. At the same time, the muscles in your back are being constantly stretched. Ironically, overstretching can have the same painful consequences as not stretching at all. Stretching is necessary – balance is key.
Massage is for relaxation – but it’s not just for relaxation. It’s also a great way to improve the health of your muscles, and an easy resolution to keep. The therapeutic massage offered at our clinic can help to work out knots and a variety of other muscular conditions that have developed over time or exist as the result of an injury. Our licensed massage therapist offers the following forms of massage:
We should resolve to treat our muscles well so that they will treat us well. Try these things out and see how your body responds! If you need additional help – as we all do sometimes – give us a call.