We all know how important water is to our bodies. It keeps us moving, it keeps us flexible, it saturates our joints, our tissues and is critical to life. It is the very reason we exist! If you are reading this blog then I am certain you are drinking your 2 litres a day, but is that water actually being absorbed by your muscles or is it just running straight through?
Having spent 3 days with Tom Myers discussing all things Fascia, it really drove home to me that good Fascia (connective tissue) health is not just important to movement, injury prevention and pain levels but it is actually a major factor in determining the hydration levels within your body too.
Fascia connects and runs through every part of our body giving us structure and form. It sits within everything and everything sits within it. Now imagine that juicy, elastic, sticky tissue dried out? It would become brittle, fragile and stiff. Now how can we move? How can we run? How can our lungs move in and out, our hearts pump blood in and out? It would become strained, we would lose our resilience and we would become slow, sore and easily injured.
The Squeeze on our Sponge
Now we get the point of this article. If our Fascia is nicely hydrated and we are getting enough liquid in, is that enough to hydrate into our tissues, our joints and our muscles? Let us think of our muscles as sponges, sponges that contract and relax to allow us to move but also that soak up water into the cells within each muscle fibre. Now consider what would happen if the Fascia has become restricted around those muscles and is not allowing your muscles to stretch to full length or to relax into their best neural position then this will affect how much fluid they can absorb.
We know that Fascia gets laid down in lines of tension, getting thicker and more restricted I wonder if we can relate this to our individual lines of tension, to where we feel stiff or to where we get reoccurring injury. I ponder the never end queue of hamstring strains I see in my clinic week in week out. Typically, they are desk workers, who sit all day with Fascia laying down thick and fast on their seat bones, lower backs, necks and chests. Once a week they get out to play a game of social football and low and behold, their hamstring goes. Could it be that the thick restricted Fascia around the hips and the hamstrings themselves is preventing the hamstring from getting enough hydration and flexibility to handle the move from the chair to the pitch?
So what to do about it?
- Move – Offset the time you are sitting with time spent being upright and mobile.
- Rest – When your muscles relax they can soak up the most fluid. As they contract through movement they actually squeeze fluid out so ensure you include rest days in your training plan.
- Hydrate – Before, during and after exercise.
- Regular Bodywork – Massage, Myofascial Releast, CORE Bodywork etc. to keep your tissues supple.
- Regular Self Massage/Fascia Release – get on that foam roller/massage ball and work those stuck points on your body.
‘Are you Aging or Just Drying Out’ by Tom Myers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wL1