Photo: woods wheatcroft photography

The Truth about Your Muscles

Do your muscles hurt? Do they not serve you like they used to? Are they not toned like you want? Do you feel old? Don’t blame your muscles.

You could have stronger, more resilient and better-toned muscles if you give them what they need. To do that you need to understand the first rule of muscles: when a muscle does a job it’s meant to do, it gets stronger, more resilient and sometimes bigger. When a muscle does a job it’s not meant to do, it’s a micro-trauma to the muscle. That micro-trauma produces scar tissue over time, and eventually the fascia in and around the muscle goes from spandex to dried leather.

The micro injuries are subtle and gradual, so we don’t feel or see their effect at first. When we finally do, we blame it on aging. It’s not just aging, though; over time, you produced the same effect that an injury does instantaneously. The scarring not only restricts movement, it restricts circulation furthering the muscle’s decline.

Transforming your muscles

The good news is that you can reverse this process by releasing the scar tissue, using the muscles as they were designed to be used, and making sure your body receives the necessary nutrition. The release can be done through yoga, massage and Rolfing. Yoga is excellent for the more recent restrictions, while Rolfing addresses the chronic issues.

Over the last 30 years, I’ve treated many Olympic and professional athletes. Originally I thought they would not be mis-trained or over-trained. I was wrong. Even today they tell me that most of their training is archaic, still following the old models that produce injuries. Beliefs such as “the more the better,” “no pain no gain,” and “fast and hard” continue to tighten and injure muscles.

My Super Slow workouts with the Exercise Institute have not only made me stronger than ever, it’s loosened me up. Rather than fast or many reps, you do a few very slowly. Those movements, much like my Natural Running form I write about, mimic what our muscles were designed to do. Given that our genome is 99.9% the same as it was 2.5 million years ago, following movement patterns adapted from what our ancestors did is good for us. Running (correctly), lifting weights correctly, and exercise that mimics natural movements are the best gifts you can give your muscles.

Owen Marcus, MA Certified Advanced Rolfer, www.align.org, 32 yrs experience – call if you have questions: 265.8440.

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