Far too often, we talk about health in a general sense. For example, exercising every day is considered “healthier” than not exercising at all. Although this is absolutely a true statement, it’s not always beneficial to talk about health in this way. In the next couple of blogs here at Fitness Specialists, we’re going to focus on a few specific areas of your health starting with the muscles. This is a good place to start because without healthy muscles, it’s going to be difficult to maintain an active lifestyle while avoiding injury.
Warm Up And Cool Down
We’re always told by parents and fitness instructors alike to do a warm up before exercising and a cool down afterward, but how does this actually benefit us? Well, a number of things happen when you do a warm up. A light warm-up loosens your joints, begins to gradually increase your heart rate, and most importantly, gets the blood flowing to the parts of your body that you’re going to be using during the workout. This is why we tend to go for a light jog when we want to warm up because it will get blood flowing to all parts of the body. A low-intensity exercise post workout (cool down) is great for preparing your body for a resting state and allowing you to recover more quickly.
Stretching is the other important thing you should be doing before and after an exercise. Stretching your muscles will increase flexibility, reaction time, promote good health, and prevent injury. If you’ve been sitting all day and haven’t gotten up much to move around, your muscles are going to be stiff, so you can never just throw yourself into a workout. However, contrary to what many people believe, you should always do a light warm up before stretching. This is because you want the blood to be flowing and for muscles to be warm before they’re stretched. Another important thing to remember about stretching is to never use a jerking motion or overstretch. All stretching motions should be gradual and if you feel any pain, pull back.
Besides being great for your overall health, staying hydrated will keep your muscles flexible and reduce your chance of injury. One common problem people face if they’re dehydrated is that they get a lot of cramps. This is because the muscles aren’t getting enough electrolytes and the body isn’t able to produce protein and glycogen structures efficiently enough. Not only that but post-workout, being hydrated will mean that your muscles will recover better and lead to more muscle growth. It’s very difficult to drink “too much” water, so chances are, you could stand to increase your water consumption.
Optimize Your Diet
Your diet impacts all aspects of your health including your muscle health. When it comes to diet, many people get frustrated or lose track of what they’re eating. It’s not easy to create a diet plan because we lead such busy lives and we’re often tempted by sugary foods and drinks. If your goal is to create a diet that promotes healthy muscles, be sure to target these four things:
- Carbohydrates – Think of carbohydrates as fuel for performing physical activities. They’ll provide you with energy, and promote the regrowth of muscle tissue by releasing insulin. Vegetables, fruits, and whole grains are all healthy sources of carbohydrates.
- Healthy Fats – Fats found in fish oils, peanut oil, olive oil, and walnuts are known as unsaturated fats and can also be great for muscle recovery.
- Protein – Since muscles are made of mostly protein, any way you can increase protein consumption in your diet will be beneficial for your muscles.
If you’re looking for other ways to promote healthy muscles in your diet aside from the above, daily multivitamin supplements can also be beneficial. If you have any questions, be sure to speak with a nutritionist.
Contact Fitness Specialists
Stick to these tips if you want to have healthy muscles. If you’re having trouble making time for a workout in your schedule, consider building your own in-home gym. At Fitness Specialists, we make this easy by providing Lubbock, Odessa, and the surrounding areas with high-quality fitness equipment. Contact us today to learn more.