Obviously, there are many factors and reasons for muscle tightness that ultimately leads to reduced joint range of motion.
Muscle “tightness” results from an increase in tension from active or passive mechanisms. Passively, muscles can become shortened through postural adaptation or scarring; actively, muscles can become shorter due to spasm or contraction. Regardless of the cause, tightness limits range of motion and may create a muscle imbalance, ultimately leading to more stiffness in our muscles and overall body.
There are top 3 reasons why in the first place our muscles get stiff.
1. Muscles Spasms
Muscles require Magnesium & Potassium for them to relax, and calcium for them to contract. When the two are imbalanced, it can lead to muscle spasms and contractions.
Muscle spasms are also caused due to muscle weakness and imbalance in muscle length and tension ratio. When the muscles cramp they create knots in the muscle fibers which in time makes the muscles stiff as the muscles lose their ability to fully relax or stretch.
Dehydration is also a contributing factor to stiff muscles. This is because muscles are active tissues and require lots of water. The water contains electrolytes that help transfer orders from your nervous system to your muscles and back. Without enough water, muscles lose their ability to communicate with the brain.
Inactivity is another culprit. Leaving your muscles in one state for a prolonged period (sleep or sitting in a chair for an extended period, for instance) can cause them to stiffen.
Another indirect cause of muscle stiffness is stress. When we’re stressed, our bodies tighten up in preparation for a “fight or flight” situation. Prolonged stress can lead to tightness in the muscles, resulting in strain.
7 Simple Ways To Treat Stiff Muscles
1. Proper Posture & Exercises
Exercising for 30 minutes each day or every other day can prevent most cases of muscle stiffness. Exercise keeps your muscles relaxed, and can even improve your mental state. Just don’t overdo it, because that’s when your muscles get stiff.
2. Salt Bath
Add 2-4 heaped tablespoons of baking soda to a hot bath and climb in for rapid muscular pain relief. You can even try replacing the baking soda with ¾ cup of Epsom salt if you wish to.
Balance your magnesium and calcium levels by taking supplements, and consider making dietary changes like eating foods higher in magnesium such as spinach, artichokes, and dates. Taking additional magnesium (particularly at night) can help to reduce muscle cramps and spasms. It is also very helpful in reducing overall muscle soreness and aiding in a better night’s rest.
4. Apply Heat
Simply applying heat to muscles causes the tissue to expand and increase blood flow to the heated area. You can do this by taking a hot shower or massaging the stiff area with a heating pad.
5. Relax & Meditate
Calm yourself down. By reducing the level of stress in your life, your body will relax as well, reducing the likelihood of tight and stiff muscles. Getting a good massage can work wonders for stiff muscles. A licensed masseuse will be able to relieve stiff muscles in a single session, sending you home pain-free and much more relaxed.
Drink water or Isotonic drinks to keep your hydration and electrolytes at an adequate level. Men require 13 cups (3 liters) of water per day, while women need nine (2.2 liters).
7. Stretch & Tone
Stretching your muscles when you wake up can prevent muscles from stiffening. It increases blood flow throughout your body and prepares the muscles for the daily movements ahead.
The physical practices of yoga kеерs the muѕсlеѕ rеlаxеd іn movements so that muѕсlе fіbеr elongate. Thіѕ results іn іnсrеаѕеd flexibility and a ѕеnѕе of well-being.
Our yoga classes and teachers systematically encourage уоgа practitioner’s to engages the body in a stretch, extending and elongating into a pose as much as comfortable, not as much as possible. Thе breath is crucial in this work because it both focuses and calms the mind, while the spine is integral for physical balance, self-awareness is developed through the practices of yoga, is integral for emotional balance.
A unique benefit of pilates reformer is eccentric muscle control. The reformer is a set-up for eccentric contraction, this is when a muscle lengthens as it resists a force. That is one of the keys to achieving the long, strong muscles and ultimately the Toned Body without bulk that Pilates is known for.