WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT MUSCLES
What you need to know about muscles is important as we continue building your head-to-toe stretch. Muscles are layers of connective tissue designed to help us move our body. Without these muscles our bones can not move! I believe you need to know more about muscles in order to keep them safe and healthy while you learn to work them.
MUSCLES AND OXYGEN
Muscles need oxygen to work properly. This is what makes breathing such an important part of any exercise, whether stretching or doing a more active workout. Working muscles require more oxygen so it is important that you inhale prior to movement and exhale during the movement, bringing the oxygen to the muscle first. Your heart rate also increases during activity and this will also increase the oxygen speeding to your muscles.
Did you know that your heart is a muscle? It is cardiac muscle and in comparison to the other muscles in your body it is an involuntary muscle. Most of your muscles move when you ask them to. Your heart muscle works differently and its action leads to the oxygenation of your blood. Moving your body and increasing your heart rate works this muscle, which is beneficial to health too. This is known as aerobic function.
Muscles exist in pairs. In the arm for example, you have the biceps whose working partner is the triceps. As one muscle contracts the other relaxes, allowing movement to happen. They are referred to as antagonistic pairs and when you work/stretch one muscle in the pair, you are also working/stretching the other muscle. This keeps them supple. In your chest you have pectoral muscles with the latiissimus dorsi working in opposition and so on and so one.
Your body has approximately 600 muscles and working all of them is best practice. The more muscle you have the more calories you burn. These muscles fuel metabolism in our body. This is why after learning a head-to-toe stretch, we will work on some whole body stretching too.
WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT INJURY
What you need to know about muscle includes that muscle injuries occur when muscles are over stretched or torn. Sometimes this happens accidentally like when we fall or turn in an odd direction. Sometimes this happens because we are not careful enough when we work muscles. This is why when you stretch you need to breathe first, stretch only to a comfortable position and rest there while continuing to breathe. Then and only then, if you feel you can move your muscle carefully a bit further, you can do so, again with a breath first. If you follow these protocols you can slowly and carefully learn to work your muscles without causing injury. This can help to improve your function, can improve pain and lead to better overall health.
You can see the structure of a muscle in an article called Structure of A Muscle. This picture is helpful for you to see the layers of muscle tissue. Envision these muscle fibres stretching when you work your muscles and this may help you to understand the import of not OVER stretching. By reading Part -1 – A Head-to-toe Stretch you can learn some basic stretching guidelines. Your body knows when to stop, listen to it!
I hope are enjoying building your stretching practice. Good luck and please email me with any questions about your personal stretching practice at email@example.com.