I Feel so TIGHT! Why?
A persistent frustration faced by many people is that their muscles feel ‘tight’. While sometimes this tightness is precipitated by a bout of strenuous exercise, in most cases, it may seem that their muscles feel stiff for no obvious reason at all. Can't seem to find the answer? Read below for more...
So why do your muscles feel tight? What can you do about it? Let’s find out.
Just like pain is based on the perception of threat, tightness is but an indicator of a threatening condition. The lack of rest (too much training) or improper blood flow is usually behind this muscle stiffness.
How To Reduce Muscle Tightness?
To deal with muscle tightness, we need to work on the underlying cause. We do this by adopting a change in posture (the body does not like to stay in one fix posture for too long a time - SO... MOVE MORE!) or movement patterns to improve blood flow.
Tightness is usually related to ingrained postures or movements that may be affecting your blood flow. Movement correction can be used to make your movement habits more efficient. A common one is slouching. If you're constantly slouching... it's probably a good idea to change that and adopt the 'proud' posture. Changing posture from time to time is a good practice as the body loves movement. Being stuck in one posture might be the cause of this tightness.
There are various treatments like deep tissue massage or sports massage or foam rolling which can decrease sensitivity and make you feel less tight, at least temporarily. Yes, it's temporary and it's not the only solution. Often times, people get so attached to getting massages just to feel less tight but the results are often for a short period of time as they have yet to correct the habits that have resulted in the tightness. Use manual therapies as an add-on while trying to correct other things. It is usually a combination approach instead of one solution.
The simplest solution to relieving tight muscles is simply stretching them. But... this is also temporary. Not the best solution. Not the ONLY solution.
This is probably the one that you didn't try to do because you thought you'll get stiffer. Contrary to popular beliefs, strength training actually improves the flexibility of your muscles. It also improves the endurance of the muscles and mitigates muscle tightness. Exercise selection is the key here. Know the action of that particular muscle group that's tight and use that knowledge to find suitable exercise that you should be doing.
Ultimately, a feeling of tightness is a matter of heightened sensitivity, rather than a structural issue. It can be relieved by improving your overall fitness and motor control. The habits in your daily life is probably the key to solving the mysteries behind your tightness. A multi-modal approach of all of the above will most likely ease the stiffness.
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