Muscles have the wonderful quality of elasticity. They can lengthen, shorten, and return to their original state which allows us the variety of movement we have. Without movement, we would be stuck in the same position watching everything around us change the way trees, rocks, and Congressional committees do.
Have you wondered why your muscles don’t feel better even though you are stretching them? It could be that they need relaxing, not more stretching.
Let’s consider that rubber bands also are elastic. Past a certain point, they do not get stronger and more effective the more you pull on them. They get tighter when more pressure is added by stretching. If they are pulled too much, they snap and become useless.
Muscles need their elastic quality to function at their best. When trying to lift an object, it is easier if the whole length of the muscle is available instead of starting with the muscle already partly contracted or in use. A longer muscle provides more strength than a shorter muscle. You can feel the difference if you kick something with your leg drawn only partly back and when you extend it fully, or if you pull a rope or something heavy with your arm partially bent compared to using your whole arm.
Continually trying to stretch a stretched out muscle doesn’t make it stronger or less painful. A tightly stretched muscle needs to be relaxed back to its natural state. Muscles attach to bones and pull on them to provide the movement we want. However, other muscles are attached to and pull on the same bone, so those other muscles can be pulled out of their position and lose some of their effectiveness by one muscle being too tight.
If you have muscle tightness and stretching is not helping, then it may be time to give massage a try. Fortunately muscles rarely break, but they will become painful to get your attention to do something before the situation gets worse.
Put a little snap back in your step!
Want to know how muscles are like shoestrings? Click this link to find out.
Muscles are also like little kids. Find out why here.
Barry is a licensed Massage Therapist at Main Street Massage in Hudson, Ohio. Find out more about him, his business, and massage at www.HudsonMassageTherapy.com