Of the approximately 640 skeletal muscles in the body, it is very likely for most people that more than a few of them may be experiencing tension at any given time. Factors that put muscles under stress include:
- Inadequate sleep
- Poor diet
- Poor posture and too much sitting
- Mental exertion
I would like to focus on the first factor, exercise and how it (or the lack thereof) can create tension in the average body. At Holmes Chiropractic, we want people to focus on the three categories of exercise that are most essential to longevity and well-being:
- Cardiovascular exercise
Anyone who has gone biking for significant mileage can imagine the tension of muscles that builds up quickly between the shoulder blades, affecting the function of the upper back, shoulders and neck; it results from hunching over your bike for miles on end and it hurts. But a smart person would still do the exercise knowing that they are building muscle rather than losing it to atrophy by not exercising at all. At the same time, the cardiovascular quality of the exercise is nourishing muscles by providing them with a steadily refreshing flow of oxygen and boosting circulation. This defeats the build up of lactic acid that results from low oxygen levels and causes painful knots to develop in the back. If you can remember to stretch (before and after) then you are completing the fitness triangle by lengthening muscle and connective tissue and keeping them toned, and also relieving any tension that may have resulted during the exercise.
Exercise is a personal choice and you need to pick the activity that makes you happiest to keep yourself coming back for more. While everyone can use more strength, it is secondary in comparison to the body's need for cardiovascular exercise and stretching. Regular chiropractic treatment is a valid augment for anyone looking to begin or maintain a fitness plan; adjustments resolve nervous system interference that results from spinal misalignment, and can cause muscle tension in and of itself.
Dr. Randall Holmes, D.C.