It’s a good idea to do muscle-strengthening at least 2-3 times a week. Despite most of us knowing the many health benefits of exercise, it’s challenging to get the discipline and habit. And that’s in a ‘normal’ world. So then factor in months of lockdown and you could have a real problem.
Whether you’re at the beginning of your fitness journey or in desperate need of some motivation to keep going, you’ll find our series of blogs focussing on the seven key principles of the Bagot Stack System extremely beneficial.
In this second blog, our focus is on our second key principle, ‘Joint Mobilising, Muscle Strengthening and Lengthening’.
Let’s first of all look at joint mobilising.
Why is joint mobilising so beneficial?
Joint mobilising is one of the keys to longevity. Working on mobility will help improve your overall health. You also need mobility to get strong and move well. Mobility work is done because it’s necessary in order to maximize one’s potential and by moving a joint through its full range, without resistance.
Mobility training and exercise, in general, encourages the movement of synovial fluid, which helps to hydrate or cushion the joints, along with blood flow, helping to deliver important nutrients and oxygen to them.
Movements performed in FLexercise classes can not only improve the range of movement but also help relieve pain and stiffness as a result of surgery and injuries. Also, conditions like osteoarthritis. The less we incorporate on a day-to-day basis the sooner our joints start to deteriorate. So, it’s important to keep joints fully oiled – good, quality movements mean happy joints!
Why is it important to have strong muscles?
We need our muscles to be strong enough to pick up shopping, getting out of a chair and general everyday activities. As we get older the amount of muscle and strength starts to decline. Muscle strength peaks in your 30’s and 40’s and then after that it declines. The resulting loss of muscle mass leads to a reduction in power, strength and endurance. This can gradually lead to changes in posture. The accompanying weaknesses will have an impact on motor skills, especially co-ordination and balance, thereby increasing the chance of a fall.
What are the benefits of muscle strengthening?
Being strong enough to be able to do everyday activities is an important reason why we need to have strong muscles. Strength training taught in FLexercise classes can help mental health, depression, increase bone strength, protect internal organs as well as mentioned above, stabilise and support joints improving balance and stability.
On top of this, having strong muscles has other added benefits. Being strong is associated with lower mortality, low risk of heart disease, and low risk of Type 2 diabetes.
It’s not enough to build muscle; we need to think about how stretching and lengthening can help.
Quite a Pair
Muscles work contracting to bring about movement. Each muscle has an opposite muscle to allow movement to occur. When one shortens, the opposite muscle lengthens.
For example, the bicep muscle in the top of your arm pulls to bend your elbow. The triceps muscle in the underside of your upper arm pulls to straighten the elbow. Muscle work is defined by changes in the length of the muscle during contraction.
Muscle fibres perform three different types of actions – concentric, eccentric, and isometric.
Concentric muscle action is a contraction or shortening, which is what’s happening when performing a bicep curl when lifting a dumbbell. An isometric action involves your muscles working in a super-still position as you can see in the diagram. An eccentric movement is the lowering part of a move. It’s when your muscle works as it is lengthened to control movement like your biceps do as you’re lowering a dumbbell after a curl.
What are the potential benefits of muscle lengthening?
It doesn’t matter if you’re a walker, runner, cyclist or dabble in something more extreme – the muscles you work to support your favourite activities get tight, often pulling other areas of the body out of their optimal positions. Lengthening the hamstring is essential for injury prevention. If your hamstrings are tight, they pull on your lower back, which can lead to bigger problems.
Another prime example is sitting for long periods during lockdown. Rounded shoulders cause the muscle around the chest to tighten. This limits the ability of the rib cage to expand and causes people to take more rapid, shallow breaths. This has a knock-on effect by weakening the back and inhibiting muscles that helps maintain an upright posture. By opening and lengthening the chest muscles makes us look better and feel a whole lot better.
Incorporating muscle lengthening exercises into your fitness regime will not only help improve you’re posture, but improve flexibility, range of motion, prevent injury, and often, alleviate pain. Research has shown that half an hour of ‘whole body’ stretching can even reduce your blood pressure.
So come on, what are you waiting for? Why not join our 10@10 team in doing some exercises each day. See how each of our 10@10 teachers incorporates exercises into their daily routines to mobilise, strengthen, lengthen and stretch joints, tendons and muscles. You will soon notice the techniques they use to achieve this. Repetition, body weight exercises such as squats, lever length, balance, apparatus, and increasing resistance by the use of gravity. The list is endless.
If you’d like to join a FLexercise Zoom class, just email firstname.lastname@example.org