I trust you are well and enjoying the nice weather. This post is dedicated to preparing yourself for the increased activity level most everyone takes on at this time of year. I hope it helps you. Speaking of helping, please let me know what you need from me in the way of information, health tips, or the like. When it comes to achieving good health, there is so much knowledge to draw from. Sometimes those little pointers you discover can make a big difference in how you feel. Also, remember to let me know at the beginning of your session if there is anything going on with you that needs special attention. I want you to get the best results possible from each massage. Regular massage is such an important part of a healthy life style. The more you learn about its benefits, the more you’ll appreciate how much it can do to help you feel your best and stay in tip-top shape. I hope you enjoy this letter. See you soon! What Makes Muscles Ache? With your body having more than 600 muscles that comprise about 40% of your body weight (closer to 30% for women), it’s no wonder you feel the effects of exertion and exercise. You can appreciate why it makes good sense to properly care for your muscles. When muscle aches are experienced during strenuous exercise (that “burning” sensation), you’re feeling the effects of lactic acid—the substance formed as a result of the incomplete breakdown of sugar by the muscle. When a build-up occurs, it’s best to continue your efforts at a lighter level; it will enable your body to use up the lactic acid faster than if you cease all activity. Feeling sore and achy a day or two after your workout has a different cause. The soreness comes from your muscle fibers in the exercised area getting slightly strained or torn. If you get too active too quickly, this overexertion can exacerbate the situation. Also, the capillaries to the area diminish from lack of use and need to redevelop in order to properly supply the muscles with the blood necessary to facilitate this new growth. The tricky part is that the new muscle fiber is capable of growing more rapidly than is the needed blood supply to the area. The solution to either of these problems is to use moderation in all your physical activities and allow your body time to build strength and stamina gradually. A little soreness when you increase your muscle usage is to be expected, but anything greater indicates you’ve been overdoing it, so slow your pace. A regular physical workout, when done properly, is a great asset to building your overall health. Your efforts do more than tone your muscles; all your systems benefit from your actions. For best results, give your muscles time to repair and regenerate between sessions of strenuous physical activity. A day or two for the exercised area to “catch its breath” and prepare for the next round makes quite a difference. Massage sessions can help your recovery time. For instance, through the light squeeze and release of muscles, circulation is improved. This increased blood flow brings nutrients like oxygen to your cells and carries toxins away for disposal. Muscle elasticity and function can be improved, as well. If you want more information on exercise, warm-ups, stretching, or other related areas of health, please ask at your next session. Take it Easy! When the weather turns nicer, many of us increase our outdoor activity level and all too often push ourselves a little too hard. The result is often a few days of painful recovery time. As you pursue your favorite pastimes this season, consider the following suggestions: Increase your activity level gradually-- Pay attention to your body’s signals so you don’t have to pay the painful price of overindulgence. Start slowly and do a little more each day and you’ll be up to speed in no time. Warm up-- Plunging into activity before you get your body warmed and ready is inviting potential trouble. Avoid possible sprains, torn ligaments, etc. by taking a few minutes to get the blood and oxygen flowing. Just as your car needs a few minutes to get warmed up to prevent mechanical problems, so do you! Drink plenty of pure water-- Water helps to regulate body temperature, keeps fluid levels up, and helps to remove toxins from your system. Schedule a relaxing massage!-- Nothing feels quite as nice as working out the kinks and sore spots after a day of sports or gardening. Your massage session can help relax your muscles and relieve soreness, as well as flushing out the chemical by-products of exercise. You just can’t beat massage for helping you to function at your best—so go have fun, then call for an appointment! See you then.