Semi-serious question for you: How often do you think about your muscles? (I mean, besides how they look.)
I am asking you this because we expect our muscles to be able to perform for us at a second’s notice. But what do we do to actually take care of them so that they can perform when we need them?
So many of us play the “walk it off” game – either pushing through little “tweaks” or ignoring them – that we can start to think that our muscles don’t even NEED care.
But they do … especially if you want them to move with ease and perform at a high level! And who doesn’t want that?
Here’s the truth: Taking care of your muscles will have big payoffs now and into the future … and it will benefit your entire body. Plus, it feels GREAT!
I’m going to outline just a few steps you can take starting today to make your muscles happier.
● Drink at least half your bodyweight in ounces of water every single day (i.e., if you weigh 150 lbs., drink 75 ounces). This will help your body transport much-needed electrolytes and minerals to your muscles to help them function properly. Plus, it will make it easier to flush out the waste from your muscles.
● Warm up before you work out or do any intense activity. Do some bodyweight exercises, squats, lunges, arm and leg swings, and movements that mimic what you’ll be doing for exercise. “Cold” muscles (i.e., without a lot of blood flow due to being warmed up) are not as pliable … and that means they are more prone to injury!
● Make time for flexibility. It can be tempting to shrug off flexibility work because it doesn’t seem as productive as a workout that makes you sweat. The fact is, if you want to be even more effective during your workouts, it’s important to be able to use full range of motion during your exercises. Flexibility helps with this! Plus … if you want to stay limber and agile as you get older, you definitely want to get a headstart on that now! Spend a few minutes stretching out after your workout, or at night as part of your evening routine.
● Eat a balanced diet packed with whole foods (proteins, healthy fats and healthy carbs). These will give your muscles the fuel to power through your daily activities, as well as the nutrients necessary to recover, repair, and grow.
Take a minute or two and thank those muscles of yours. They work hard for you!