Posted by Bethaney Wallace on March 18, 2014
Muscles are one of the body’s most intricate systems. Yet, despite their multiple functions, they’re often overlooked. They allow us to move, keep organs safely in place, and help nutrients to travel throughout the body – so why do we not take better care of these amazing little pieces of bodily machinery? After all, if it weren’t for them, our bodies simply wouldn’t work – in any sense of the word.
Whether you’re not sure what steps to take or simply just haven’t taken them, look to these easy (yet effective) methods. Just by adjusting your diet and being aware of what factors hurt and help the body, you can be well on your way to increasing their daily health.
How to Improve Muscle Health With Diet
The first way to increase your muscle’s abilities is to adjust your daily diet. Start by increasing the amount of water you drink throughout the day. Staying fully hydrated allows the muscles to move more fluidly, while obtaining more nutrients. And because blood can then flow better through your veins, muscles will receive more of the substances they need in a quicker manner.
If you’re not a huge water fan, consider a flavor addition, such as droplets or mixes. Tea and coffee also contain water, but be sure to check for caffeine or sugar levels, which can actually slow down hydration processes. Whatever your final “water” option, however, avoid soda or sugar-based drinks at all costs. These substances rob the body of its current moisture while pumping in sugars and hard-to-digest items.
Next, look to healthier and protein-rich foods. This means shakes, fruits, veggies, and fat-free (or low-fat) protein options. Check labels for percentages when planning meals, or talk with a dietician about the best options for muscle health. However, it’s generally a solid bet with fresh, vitamin-enriched foods, such as salad or whole grains. While shakes are an easy way to quickly pump protein into the system, even when you’re less hungry or don’t have a solid opportunity to eat a healthy snack.
Antioxidants will also help rid the muscles of toxins or other “sludge” that can cause soreness or inhibit future growth. Look to 100% juices or sprinkle a little ginger on your food to maximize antioxidant abilities.
Finally, stock up on carbs. Yes, really. Even though this is a food many ignore (especially when working to lose weight), they actually help repair muscles. Before setting out to do something strenuous, have a carb-heavy meal, along with another one after the activity. For instance, before a long run, eat pasta for dinner the night before, then have plenty of bread for lunch once you’re finished. This routine will allow the body to burn calories without hurting muscles in the process.
Movement(s) That Will Improve Muscles
Next, consider the way you move. Even if you’re not a fan of working out, regular stretching will help tone and expand muscles, as well as provide them with more oxygen. Remember to pull or reach for a few minutes every day to provide maximum results. This can even be done while watching TV or at the office desk.
For those who don’t mind getting a little more movement, go on daily walks or jogs to really get the blood pumping. Then afterwards, a few short stretches will reduce soreness while increasing growth. As for specific muscle groups, talk to a trainer or perform a quick online search. That way you can find the best moves, and start working on the areas you want to lend the most of your focus.
To give your muscles the attention they deserve, remember to adjust your diet and stretch on a daily basis. These simple changes will provide ample improvements to your daily health.