August 3, 2020

Top 10 Reasons We Need To Drink Water! and More…

In today’s digest we bring you articles on Top 10 Reasons We Need To Drink Water!, 5 Workouts for Non-Responsive Biceps, The COVID-19 Crisis: A Brand Leans on Community and What Causes Muscle Strains And How Do You Treat Them?. Hope you enjoy them…

Top 10 Reasons We Need To Drink Water!

1. Water is the substance of life Life can not exist without water. We must constantly be adding fresh water to our body in order to keep it properly hydrated. Water can be a miracle cure for many common ailments such as headaches, fatigue, joint pain, and much more. We can go for weeks without…

1. Water is the substance of life

Life can not exist without water. We must constantly be adding fresh water to our body in order to keep it properly hydrated. Water can be a miracle cure for many common ailments such as headaches, fatigue, joint pain, and much more. We can go for weeks without food, but only 3 days without water!

2. The body is comprised of 80% water

Water makes up nearly 85 percent of your brain, about 80 percent of your blood and about 70 percent of your lean muscle. (Because there are a lot of tissues that have less water, the average is about 50 percent.).



Top 10 Reasons We Need To Drink Water!

3. Water Source

It is difficult for the body to get water from any other source than water itself. Soft drinks and alcohol steal tremendous amounts of water from the body. Other beverages such as coffee and tea are diuretics therefore stealing precious water from the body.

4. A vital role

Water plays a vital role in nearly every bodily function. Lack of water is the #1 trigger of daytime fatigue. A mere 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on the computer screen or on a printed page.

5. Water transports and Metabolizes

Water is essential for proper digestion, nutrient absorption and chemical reactions. The carbohydrates and proteins that our bodies use as food are metabolized and transported by water in the bloodstream. No less important is the ability of water to transport waste material out of our bodies.

6. Water is essential

Water is essential for proper circulation in the body. The levels of oxygen in the bloodstream are greater when the body is well hydrated. The more oxygen the body has readily available the more fat it will burn for energy without the presence of oxygen the body cannot utilize stored fat for energy efficiently. Not only will the body burn more fat when well hydrated but because there are increased oxygen levels you will also have more energy.

7. Removes Toxins

Water helps remove toxins from the body, in particular from the digestive tract. Water suppresses the appetite naturally and helps the body metabolize stored fat. Studies have shown that a decrease in water intake will cause fat deposits to increase, while an increase in water intake can actually reduce fat deposits.

In 37% of Americans, the thirst mechanism is so weak that it is often mistaken for hunger. One glass of water shut down midnight hunger pangs for almost 100% of the dieters studied in a University of Washington study.

8. Regulates cooling system

Water regulates the body’s cooling system. Sports drinks are useful when consumed after or during vigorous and prolonged exercise in high heat. But most experts agree that water works better than carbohydrates or sugared beverages for moderate exercise. For instance, if you drink 12 ounces of plain water, your body will absorb 8 ounces of it within 15 minutes.



Top 10 Reasons We Need To Drink Water!

“Most experts agree that water works better than carbohydrates or sugared beverages for moderate exercise.”

If you drink 12 ounces of a 10% sugar solution, less than 1 ounce will be absorbed in the same period. The typical soft drink is a 10 to 12% sugar solution.

9. Chronic Cellular Dehydration

Consistent failure to drink enough water can lead to Chronic Cellular Dehydration. This condition where the body’s cell are never quite hydrated enough leave them in a weakened state, vulnerable to attack from disease. It weakens the body’s overall immune system and leads to chemical, nutritional and pH imbalances that can cause a host of diseases.

10. Dehydration can happen in winter

Dehydration can occur at any time of the year, not only during the summer months when it is hot. The dryness that occurs during winter can dehydrate the body even quicker than when it is hot. When you are dehydrated you tend to eat more.

General Rule: Due to the fact that every body is different the rule we often hear about drinking 8-8oz. Of water per day can be misleading. We need to drink half our body weight in ounces of water every day to provide the body with its MINIMUM water replacement requirements. Triple the intake for better results.

Top 10 Reasons To Consume Water Instead Of Soft Drinks!

1. Soft drinks steal water from the body

They work very much like a diuretic which takes away more water than it provides to the body. Just to process the high levels of sugar in soft drinks steals a considerable amount of water from the body.

To replace the water stolen by soft drinks, you need to drink 8-12 glasses of water for every one glass of soft drinks that you consume!

2. Soft Drinks never quench your thirst

Soft Drinks never quench your thirst, certainly not your body’s need for water. Constantly denying your body an adequate amount can lead to Chronic Cellular Dehydration, a condition that weakens your body at the cellular level. This, in turn, can lead to a weakened immune system and a plethora of diseases.



3. Elevated levels of phosphates

The elevated levels of phosphates in soft drinks leach vital minerals from your body. Soft Drinks are made with purified water that also leach vital minerals from your body. A severe lack of minerals can lead to Heart Disease (lack of magnesium), Osteoporosis (lack of calcium) and many other diseases. Most vitamins can not perform their function in the body without the presence of minerals.

4. Soft Drinks can remove rust

Soft Drinks can remove rust from a car bumper or other metal surfaces. Imagine what it’s doing to your digestive tract as well as the rest of your body.

5. The Sugar Crash

The high amounts of sugar in Soft Drinks causes your pancreas to produce an abundance of insulin, which leads to a “sugar crash”. Chronic elevation and depletion of sugar and insulin can lead to diabetes and other imbalance related diseases. This is particularly disruptive to growing children which can lead to life-long health problems.

Top 10 Reasons We Need To Drink Water!

“The high amounts of sugar in Soft Drinks causes your pancreas to produce an abundance of insulin, which leads to a ‘sugar crash’.”

6. Creates Poor Digestion

Soft Drinks severely interfere with digestion. Caffeine and high amounts of sugar virtually shut down the digestive process. That means your body is essentially taking in NO nutrients from the food you may have just eaten, even that eaten hours earlier.

Consumed with french-fries which can take WEEKS to digest, there is arguably nothing worse a person can put in their body.

7. Diet soft drinks contain Aspartame

Diet soft drinks contain Aspartame, which has been linked to depression, insomnia, neurological disease and a plethora of other illness. The FDA has received more than 10,000 consumer complaints about Aspartame, that’s 80% of all complaints about food additives.

8. Soft Drinks are EXTREMELY acidic

Soft Drinks are EXTREMELY acidic, so much so that they can eat through the liner of an aluminum can and leach aluminum from the can if it sits on the shelf too long. Alzheimer patients who have been autopsied ALL have high levels of aluminum in their brains. Heavy metals in the body can lead to many neurological and other diseases.



9. And More Acidic

Soft Drinks are extremely acidic: The human body naturally exists at a pH of about 7.0. Soft Drinks have a pH of about 2.5, which means you are putting something into your body that is hundred of thousands of times more acidic that your body is!

Diseases flourish in an acidic environment. Soft Drinks and other acidic food deposit acid waste in the body which accumulates over time in the joints and around the organs.

For example, the Body pH of cancer or arthritis patients are always low. The sicker the person, the lower the Body pH.

10. The Worst thing

Soft Drinks are the worst thing you can possibly put in your body. Don’t even think of taking a sip of a Soft Drink when you are sick with a cold, flu or something worse. It will only make it that much harder for your body to fight the illness.



Top 10 Reasons We Need To Drink Water! was originally published at https://www.bodybuilding.com/content/top-10-reasons-we-need-to-drink-water.html?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=Social_content&utm_campaign=fb_articles&utm_content=fb_articles






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5 Workouts for Non-Responsive Biceps

Some guys get big arms just by pressing and pulling. Others aren’t so lucky. These workouts are for them. Staggered sets, doing more pull-ups, hitting the biceps daily, and using occlusion and constant tension methods all work tremendously well. Pick just one method and kill it for 3-4 weeks, then don’t train biceps at all…

  • Some guys get big arms just by pressing and pulling. Others aren’t so lucky. These workouts are for them.
  • Staggered sets, doing more pull-ups, hitting the biceps daily, and using occlusion and constant tension methods all work tremendously well.
  • Pick just one method and kill it for 3-4 weeks, then don’t train biceps at all for a week. Next, choose another method and hit it for 3-4 weeks again, followed by another week off. Then purchase several sleeveless T-shirts.

Direct arm training is boring. I get seriously demotivated when I have to work “arms.” I prefer simply to work on heavy lifting and performance. Fortunately, my arms are satisfactory for my goal and I can maintain them and even improve them slightly by only doing the big basics.

It wasn’t always that way. While my triceps have always been good (I’m a natural presser), my biceps always lagged behind. I eventually had to knuckle down and focus on my biceps to get them up to par with my delts, traps, and chest. I used a number of special tried-and-true strategies, all of which I’ll teach you here.

Note: These strategies are meant to be used one at a time. Do not combine them.

1 – Staggered Sets

Staggered sets worked extremely well for my biceps training. Every time I did a pressing workout I performed a set of a biceps exercise before every set of horizontal or vertical pressing.

I found this helped my pressing by stabilizing the elbow joint – like how hamstring work before squatting stabilizes the knees – and was a great stimulus for the biceps for two reasons:

  1. The amount of mechanical work done.  During a heavy pressing workout I might ramp up my bench press in 12 sets and then perform 3-5 sets using a different technique (e.g., chains, bands, different tempo, etc.) So if I’m performing staggered sets, at the very least I’m getting in about 18 sets of biceps work, almost without noticing it. Even if you follow a more traditional training routine where you use 3-4 pressing exercises for 3-4 sets each, that still adds up to a similar volume if you’re staggering your biceps work.
  2. Stretching a pumped muscle.  During most pressing movements, the biceps are stretched under load, provided you use a full range of motion. If you perform this loaded stretch on a pumped muscle, you’ll stretch the fascia and increase the sensitivity of the IGF-1 receptors, both of which positively affect protein synthesis and muscle hypertrophy.

With this approach, the weight used on the biceps exercise is irrelevant. The goal is simply to induce the biggest pump possible with the least amount of effort. The key is to constantly contract the biceps as hard as possible – essentially flex the muscle while doing the movement, and never release the contraction.

So do a set of 8-10 reps in-between each set of a pressing movement, and flex the muscle during the entire movement on each and every set.

The constant contraction has an occlusion effect on the muscle, leading to an accumulation of waste product and edema, followed by a huge rush in blood flow to the muscle once you end the set. This causes a big pump with very little muscle damage.

A question I often get about this technique is if you have to drop your “arm day” when applying staggered sets to the pressing workouts. The answer is no, you can keep doing your arm day. The staggered sets, if done with the constant tension technique, won’t cause significant muscle damage and shouldn’t interfere with your regular arm training.

Additionally, if you’re using Plazma™ pre-workout, the constant tension technique will deliver an enormous amount of nutrients to the biceps, which will help them recover and grow from the “heavier” biceps training.

Christian Rope Curl

2 – The Plazma Load

This can only be performed while using Plazma. If the blood isn’t filled to the brim with specific nutrients, you’re wasting your time. The goal here is to use a very long time-under-tension as well as to take advantage of the occlusion effect to create a huge rush of nutrient-rich blood into the biceps.

Make sure you start pre-loading with Plazma 20-30 minutes before the workout and continue to sip it during rest periods.

 ExerciseSetsReps
A1Preacher Curl *38-10
Rest with arms held at your sides for 5 seconds.
A2Flex your biceps as hard as possible for 30-45 seconds3 
Rest for 1 minute.
A3Dumbbell Hammer Curl *38-10
Rest with arms held at your sides for 5 seconds.
A4Flex your biceps as hard as possible for 30-45 seconds3 
Rest for 1 minute.
A5Standing Reverse Curl with EZ Bar *38-10
Rest with arms held at your sides for 5 seconds.
A6Flex your biceps as hard as you can for 30-45 seconds3 
Rest 1 minute and start over, performing the circuit three times total.

* Constant tension as explained above.

The constant-tension reps cause an accumulation of metabolites and growth factors in the muscle and when you release the tension (the 5 seconds of rest) blood rushes back inside the muscle. That’s called reactive hyperhemia. Flexing hard afterwards will occlude the muscle again, preventing the nutrient-rich blood from exiting the muscle, thereby producing even more growth factors.

Since this strategy uses constant tension and occlusion you can use it frequently. In fact, if combined with a double-dose of Plazma you can use it 3-4 times a week and make tremendous progress.

Note: If you perform this biceps strategy on a leg day, do the biceps work first. If performing it with a pressing workout, again do the biceps work first. By pumping the biceps you’ll get the added benefit of a loaded stretch during your presses. Conversely, do it at the end on pulling days as it will hinder performance in your pulling exercises.

3 – The Accidental Growth Solution

This is for those who hate doing direct arm work but still need their arms to grow. It’s simple – start every session with a lot of pull-ups.

Use two different workouts:

  1. Perform 50 pull-ups in as little time as possible.
  2. Perform as many pull-ups as possible in 10 minutes.

Alternate workouts during the training week (i.e., A-B-A-B, etc.)

The biggest mistake seen with the A days is trying to do too many reps in the first set. If you go anywhere near failure on any of the sets, it will greatly hinder your ability to complete the task in decent time.

The same thing holds true for B days. If you start too fast you’ll quickly burn out and won’t even be able to do even one more pull-up, thereby defeating the purpose of the method.

Try to end each set with 2 or more reps in the tank so that you can be ready to go in 15-20 seconds.

Two Notes:

  1. This method works best with lifters who can do 8-10 strict pull-ups. Use an elastic band to provide help if you can’t do that many. If you can do a lot more than 10 strict pull-ups (e.g., 15 or more), then add weight – just enough to knock you back to 8-10 strict reps.
  2. Be sure to mix up your choice of grip. Change it as often as you want during a workout. The supinated grip hits the biceps more; the neutral grip will target the brachialis; and the pronated grip fries the corachobrachialis.

4 – The Million-Dollar Challenge

Tim Patterson once asked me, “If there was a challenge where the person who added the most weight to his bench press in one month won a million dollars, what would you do?”

My answer was to bench press every day. And that’s especially true with the biceps as you can do them every day while maintaining your regular training schedule.

Pick one biceps exercise, the one you feel the most. I like the preacher curl, but some might prefer the standing barbell curl or hammer curl. Here’s how you do it:

  • Set 1: Warm-up with a light weight.
  • Set 2: Do 6 reps with a weight you could do about 10 reps with.
  • Sets 3-6: Perform 3 strict reps on each set, using as much weight as possible.
  • Sets 7-9: Perform 3 loose reps (use a slight cheat to lift the weight) with as much weight as possible – 10-20% more than the preceding sets.
  • Set 10: Use 50% of the max you used for the strict reps and perform as many strict reps as possible.

Remember, you’re doing this every damn day. On some days you’ll feel weaker and you’ll have to use a bit less weight. Some days you’ll feel stronger and should use more weight. The key is that for both steps (strict and loose) you strive to lift as much weight as you can.

While ideally you’d use the same weight for sets 3 to 6, use more weight if you need to. The goal is to do at least one set with the absolute heaviest weight you can do with strict form.

The same applies for sets 7 through 9. You may adjust the weight from set to set if you think you can do more or feel like you should decrease the load. Don’t be afraid to go up a notch if you feel like you can.

Since you’ll be doing a fair amount of biceps work daily, you won’t do anything else for biceps for 3-4 weeks. You should see some significant growth, and the daily heavy work will increase your biceps’ capacity to recruit its fast-twitch fibers, making your bi’s even more responsive to training after those 3-4 weeks.

Christian Dumbbell Curl

5 – The Do-Over

This is an old-school method I learned from 1970’s-era competitive bodybuilders. You have one dedicated day where you train the biceps hard, i.e., an arm day (biceps/triceps). The next day you have a workout where you pair biceps with another major muscle group.

On the dedicated arms day, choose three exercises for the biceps. I recommend one with a supinated grip (barbell curls), one with a neutral grip (hammer curls), and one with a pronated grip (reverse curls).

For each exercise perform 3 sets of 6 reps and then 3 sets of 3 reps with a heavier weight. Go heavy but still control the eccentric – you can lift fairly fast but always lower the weight under control.

The next day begin the workout with pump work for the biceps. For each of the 3 exercises you used the day before, perform 2 sets of 10-15 reps using the constant tension technique. Then go about your regular planned workout.

So it might look like this:

Day 1

 ExerciseSetsReps
ADumbbell Hammer Curl3,36,3
BStanding Reverse EZ Bar Curl3,36,3
CPreacher Curl3,36,3

* Fast concentric; controlled eccentric.

The rest of your arms workout can be done before or after the biceps work.

Day 2

 ExerciseSetsReps
ADumbbell Hammer Curl210-15
BStanding Reverse EZ Bar Curl210-15
CPreacher Curl210-15

* Constant tension: slow concentric, slow eccentric, contracting the muscle at all times.

The biceps portion must be done first in the workout. Then you can perform the rest of the planned workout.

Effective Biceps Programming

These workouts should be used for 3-4 weeks at a time. After the 3-4 week cycle, stop all direct biceps work for a week. And remember, only use one method per cycle.

After the 1-week break you can perform a second 3-4 week cycle using a different method, but do not do more than two 4-week cycles in a row. It’s far better to go back to your normal training for at least 8 weeks to allow supercompensation to occur.

Now can we go back to talking about heavy lifting and performance?



5 Workouts for Non-Responsive Biceps was originally published at https://www.t-nation.com/training/workouts-for-non-responsive-biceps?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=article3513







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The COVID-19 Crisis: A Brand Leans on Community

Editor’s note: This is part three of a six-part series about how the running industry is coping with the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ll investigate several aspects of the sport through the experiences of the women who are navigating and leading the industry. Part One: How Racing Will ReboundPart Two: Helping Running Clubs Get Back on Track…

Editor’s note: This is part three of a six-part series about how the running industry is coping with the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ll investigate several aspects of the sport through the experiences of the women who are navigating and leading the industry.

Part One: How Racing Will Rebound
Part Two: Helping Running Clubs Get Back on Track

It was March 19 when Monica DeVreese’s two young sons came home from school in Santa Barbara, California. They were told classes would be on hold for two weeks, just until COVID-19 was under control. Even so, it set off some alarms for DeVreese about the business she co-founded, the running apparel brand, Rabbit.

As it turned out, her gut instinct was correct—an outbreak turned into a COVID-19 pandemic, which is entering its fifth month in the U.S. DeVreese started Rabbit in 2014 with her co-founder Jill Deering. The brand is still quite new, so the anxiety about a shutdown was real.

“We’re in start-up mode still,” DeVreese says. “The part of the business I stress about, like any business owner, is the financial piece. My first thoughts were, ‘The economy is going to tank, nobody is going to spend, everybody’s going to be scared.’”

But a positive outcome of COVID-19 is that running remains a safe activity. As gyms and studios across the country struggle to reopen, public health experts have encouraged people to get outdoors to exercise. Newcomers to walking and running, combined with established participants, also seem willing to purchase apparel and gear.

According to the NPD Group, a market research company, the running market is on the upswing as of the end of June, specifically in performance shoes. Brands like Brooks, Hoka One One, and On Running showed double- and triple-digit growth beginning in May through June. Brooks recently told Fortune that it expects to see a 20 percent increase in sales for the year.

“We are seeing a renewed interest in and commitment to health and fitness take hold and I expect performance running will be a real beneficiary in today’s COVID-19 world,” says Matt Powell, NPD’s sports industry advisor, in a written statement. “With sales declining on an annual basis and athleisure becoming the driving force in footwear, it has been a mixed bag for the performance running footwear market, however the current environment could work in its favor.”

For DeVreese, the immediate concern in March and April was making sure Rabbit could still operate as a business under the California rules. Then the attention focused on creating a safe environment for employees to work, outlining protocols for sanitation and mitigating any risk of spreading COVID-19.

Early in the pandemic, many people also worried that the virus could spread on surfaces, like packages. Public health officials have since said that it’s mainly spread person-to-person through respiratory droplets.

“So, we also wanted to make sure that our consumers felt comfortable with the packages they were receiving from us,” DeVreese says.

As it turned out, Rabbit’s sales followed the pattern of those other running-specific brands. Online sales have steadily increased during the pandemic, to some of the company’s best-ever results, even launching two new product lines amid mayhem. DeVreese has been relieved—if not a bit surprised.

“If you want to call it a running boom or not, it just seems like people can’t go out with their friends, so maybe they think, ‘I’m going to forgo that cute pair of jeans, but maybe I’ll buy a new running outfit instead,’” DeVreese says. “I’m not 100 percent sure that’s what’s happening, but it’s been interesting. I feel blessed and fortunate.”

Early on, DeVreese and the Rabbit team decided it’d be important to focus on messaging and tone as long as the COVID-19 pandemic raged on. They knew that as races were cancelled for the year and goals continued to slip away, the brand wanted to serve as a platform to lift spirits and motivate runners. And as part of that initiative, they launched “Operation Appreciation,” in which runners could nominate fellow runners who are also frontline healthcare workers to receive some free gear.

“Jill and I just want to keep inspiring people more than ever right now,” DeVreese says. “We tweaked our messaging a bit and we’ve also known that circumstances can change daily. Every day we talk about how we can interact with the consumer and rally our community. It seems to be working.”

DeVreese and her husband, Joe DeVreese, also own local running store Santa Barbara Running Company. As retail shops were forced to shut down, she’s been especially appreciative of how the industry has tried to help specialty retailers get through the tough times in order to make it to the other side of the pandemic.

“The bigger footwear brands have been incredible, giving automatic 60 day extensions on invoice payments, for example, or pushing product launches out so stores aren’t inundated with inventory when they reopen,” she says. “That’s taken off a huge stress.”

And while her two sons remain mostly home, DeVreese has personally decided to try to make the most of the time in which she’s not always in a rush to get on planes, go to meetings, or scramble to the kids’ activities. It may not be the best reason to slow life down, but she’ll take the opportunity while it exists.

“That can apply to running, too. Since there are no races right now, enjoy the run for what it is, enjoy the beauty of the time we have right now,” she says. “I know there have been some really dark days, but I see a glimmer of light. I’m optimistic for next year. We have to keep on keepin’ on.”



The COVID-19 Crisis: A Brand Leans on Community was originally published at http://ow.ly/w6jG50AODzq







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What Causes Muscle Strains And How Do You Treat Them?

Muscle strains run the gamut from a mild annoyance that goes away after a few days to a serious injury that requires surgery and knocks you off your game for months. Either way, it’s best to avoid them and you can dramatically increase your chances of doing so by taking a few simple steps. However,…

Muscle strains run the gamut from a mild annoyance that goes away after a few days to a serious injury that requires surgery and knocks you off your game for months. Either way, it’s best to avoid them and you can dramatically increase your chances of doing so by taking a few simple steps.

However, if you’ve suddenly increased your level of exercise during the COVID-19 lockdown, you might not be aware of those steps, and you might have suffered a pulled muscle as a result. A study from Bupa UK has found that 14% of UK adults have injured themselves during lockdown and of these injuries pulled muscles are the most common, making up 36%.

For expert advice on how to spot, treat and ideally prevent pulled muscles, we spoke to Damian McClelland, clinical director for musculoskeletal services at Bupa UK Insurance.

Why do pulled muscles happen?

Your muscles are made up of bands of fibres, which relax and tighten to make you move. You may strain a muscle if you stretch it beyond its normal comfortable range, or make it work too hard or too fast, such as during exercise or sports.

The most common muscle strains tend to be in the legs, such as calf, hamstring or quadriceps strains, but other common strains occur in the back, neck and arms.

What are the symptoms?

Muscle strain symptoms vary depending on how bad the injury is, but normally include pain, tenderness when you touch the muscle, swelling or bruising, and weakness or loss of movement.

The symptoms normally ease in a few days, depending on the grade of muscle strain. The longer your symptoms last, the worse your injury is likely to be. A grade one muscle strain is where the fibres are slightly damaged – there may be some pain but the strength of the muscle shouldn’t be affected, and it should settle in a few days.

A grade two strain is a partial tear of the muscle, and you might have some bruising or swelling as well. If you have a grade three strain, you may have felt a popping sensation when you hurt your muscle, and you may have a lump at either end of your muscle and have lost all the strength in your muscle so you can’t use it. If you think you might have a grade three strain it’s important to go to A&E immediately.

How can you prevent them?

There are lots of steps you can take to help prevent muscle strains when exercising. Make sure you warm up thoroughly first with some gentle exercise. Ideally, you should do a dynamic warm-up, which takes your muscles through the range of motion for the activity that you’re about to do. Do this for around five to ten minutes. Warm down afterwards by gradually decreasing your activity levels until your breathing and heart rate return to normal.

It’s also important to use the correct equipment, and always wear the right shoes for your activity: for example, wearing running trainers when you go jogging, and replacing them when they wear out and no longer provide any support.

Make sure you take the time to perfect your technique when you try something new – especially when using weights. Although you might not be able to speak to your gym instructor face to face at the moment, many are offering online appointments to make sure your technique is safe.

And most importantly, seek help if you think you may have hurt yourself. There’s no need to grin and bear it if you’re in pain. If you need to speak to a physiotherapist or a consultant, phone or video appointments allow quick access to advice and treatment. Bupa’s Direct Access MSK service allows customers to bypass the GP and be referred directly to a specialist.

Are there more serious conditions that have similar symptoms, and if so how can you tell the difference?

If you heard a crack, or the injured body part has gone numb, discoloured or cold to the touch or has changed shape, you may have a broken bone so it’s important to go to A&E immediately.

You should also go to hospital if you felt a popping or tearing sensation when you pulled your muscle, are in a lot of pain, have a lot of swelling or find it difficult to move the muscle – for example you may not be able to walk on it. These symptoms can indicate a more serious condition such as grade three muscle strain, where the tendon has separated from the muscle or the muscle has torn apart.

How do you treat pulled muscles?

You can usually treat mild muscle strains at home. Sometimes you may need to see a physiotherapist or have an operation to repair your damaged muscle depending upon how severe the strain is.

If your muscle strain isn’t a bad one, there are several things you can do at home to ease your symptoms and speed up your recovery. You should follow the POLICE procedure as soon as possible after you’ve injured yourself, which will give your muscle a chance to heal and protect it from any more damage:

  • Protect your injury from further harm, for example by using a support.
  • Optimal Loading. It’s important to start moving the muscle again sooner rather than later, but only do what feels comfortable and speak to a physiotherapist if you’d like further advice.
  • Ice. Apply ice or frozen peas wrapped in a towel. Use for around 20 minutes roughly every two hours. Avoid putting ice directly on the skin.
  • Compression. Bandage your injury, but not too tightly and remove before going to sleep.
  • Elevation. Try to keep your injured muscle raised above the level of your heart to help reduce swelling.

You can also use over-the-counter painkillers if you need pain relief. It’s important to rest your muscle immediately after an injury. After this, you can start to move around gently and slowly, as long as this doesn’t cause any pain. Gradually build up your activity until your muscle feels like it’s getting back to normal. You might also want to do some exercises to strengthen the muscle. A physiotherapist can advise you on what’s best.

If your muscle doesn’t start to get better and you can’t put weight on it after about a week, contact a physiotherapist or your GP.

How long do they take to heal?

Recovery from a muscle strain will depend on how bad the injury is and which muscle is involved. It may take you a few weeks to be able to walk as normal and it may take even longer for you to get back to your normal exercise or sports. With a very bad strain, it may take months for you to recover completely.

It’s important to keep your muscle moving after an injury, but you may need to make some changes to the way you do things. You may be more prone to hurting that muscle again in the first four to six weeks, so you’ll need to take extra care not to re-injure it.



What Causes Muscle Strains And How Do You Treat Them? was originally published at https://www.coachmag.co.uk/health/8608/muscle-strains-how-to-avoid-and-treat-pulled-muscles