8 Tried and Tested Methods to Loosen Tight Muscles
We all suffer from muscular tension at some point – some people experience it daily, others might get it every now and again but understanding how to restore flexibility is paramount if you want to continue your daily routine in comfort.
There are lots of reasons why muscular tension occurs too. It could be you’ve had a stressful day, perhaps you’ve just worked out and didn’t warm up properly or maybe you’ve injured yourself. Learning how to loosen tight muscles helps you in a number of ways, it encourages increase in movement, it strengthens your body and it’s a stress-reliever too.
Here are some valuable tips on how to loosen up those tight muscles.
1. Warm Up and Warm Down
If your tight muscles are down to working out, remember that every time you put stress on your muscles, you tear muscle fibres. They are only tiny tears though and they will heal but they are the cause of your discomfort. If you learn to warm up and warm down properly, your muscular fibres won’t tear. Following workout, you need to slowly reduce your pace of exercise until it is gentle enough for your muscles to recover and keep moving until you reach a stop. This keeps blood circulating around your body but more importantly, it keeps it moving around your muscles. Stretching is also good for you as it releases muscle toxin build-up, aiding the lymphatic system in its important job.
Tense muscles stiffen up so stretch your muscles out and make sure you take enough time to really feel that stretch. Remember, if you’ve been running, swimming, jogging, walking or stepping, your whole body needs to stretch pre and post exercise. Otherwise, you will experience muscle tension, so build in five minutes pre workout and post workout and start at the top of your body right to your toes, stretching out each area slowly and thoroughly. Stretching should feel good and should never feel painful.
2. Under Stress? Get a massage
If your tension is caused by stress, the chances are the pain you’ll experience is in your neck, back or shoulders as these areas subconsciously tense up when you’re feeling anxiety. This tension creates muscular imbalance and needs to be relieved. A good quality deep tissue or Swedish massage by a therapist can help to alleviate tension. You should also stretch out your body using slow, intense movements and try a relaxing, warm bath with essential oils just to feel relaxed. When you feel relaxed, your body relaxes too.
3. Meditate and Relax
You could try meditation. Even just a few minutes a day in a quiet, dark room can refocus the mind and rebalance blocked energy. It’s not easy to meditate if you’re not used to it but if you really concentrate your mind on focusing on nothing at all, eventually you’ll get the hang of it. Try picturing yourself on a solitary beach, or floating in the sea with a warming sun. Alternatively, there are some good apps if you have a tablet or mobile device. Headspace or Sleepio are excellent, listening to the melodic tones of someone else’s voice can help to switch your mind off.
You could buy ambient sounds, such as the rainforest, whale music or the sea lapping at the shore. These rhythmic sounds have been proven to aid in relaxation and helping tired muscles to loosen up. If you’re a poor sleeper, meditation is a good way to promote sleep and sleep is essential for healing sore muscles and relieving tension.
4. Breathe Deeply
Try deep breathing. If you’re in pain or you’re under stress, your breathing will likely be rapid and shallow; this tenses up your muscles. Learn how to deep breathe. If you take a few minutes to breathe, close your eyes and inhale through your nose to the count of seven, then hold for a second and exhale for as long as you can. Repeat this ten times, it helps tension leave the body.
5. Sauna and Steam
Another option is to loosen up tight muscles by having a sauna or a steam but remember to drink plenty of water afterwards as you will dehydrate due to sweating. Staying hydrated is imnnporant for so many reasons and it’s also good for muscle strain because it keeps the cells supple.
6. Get Some R&R
Take a break too. It’s not just about getting a good night’s sleep (although that is so important); it’s about factoring in some relaxation time during the day. Don’t sit at your desk all day staring at a computer screen. Schedule in some time to take a leisurely walk outside and get some fresh air. Remember to sit down and do something you enjoy, like reading or watching the TV. Your muscles work all day to support your body, they need to be rewarded!
7. Try A Massager
As mentioned before, massage is an excellent method to loosen up muscles. You could try a massager, especially if you haven’t got time to get to your masseuse or you don’t have a partner to soothe your aching muscles. There are numerous options available online from back massagers to foot massagers, leg massagers and even all-over-body massagers. Some are electronic and do all the hard work for you, including kneading, rolling and applying pressure with or without heat. Others you use by hand, but they are configured to reach hard-to-reach areas of the body and long enough to get to your lower back, for example. These are excellent for loosening up tension in muscles and getting you out of pain.
8. Take Magnesium
Magnesium is an excellent supplement to take for muscular tension. It promotes relaxation and muscular contraction and is often advised by medical practitioners for those who experience cramp. This report details why magnesium is especially good for alleviating leg cramps. As a guide, an adult should take 400mg a day and eat a nutrient rich diet with food such as sesame and sunflower seeds, spinach, quinoa and pumpkin. All are rich in magnesium.
So, hopefully there’s a wealth of information to help you get out of pain and loosen up tight muscles. In summary, always stretch pre and post exercise make sure you factor in relaxation during the day, sleep well, try a massage either at your local masseuse or at home and add in a daily magnesium supplement.