A lot of us blame muscle pulls for missed workouts and discontinued fitness routines. However, a muscle pull is quite painful and along with cancelling out a workout, it will also cancel out that coffee at your neighbourhood barista. Today we're looking into how you can avoid such a debilitating state through basic exercises and stretches. Dr. Vishal Nigam, Consultant for Spine Care at Moolchand Orthopaedics Hospital, says: "A muscle pull or partial tear of muscles can occur with normal activities or exertion. In order to protect muscles from such injuries, it is important to keep muscles in good shape. This can be done by doing physical exercises on a regular basis in a toned manner." How can one do this? Dr. Nigam tells us about 10 exercises to tackle muscle pulls. Over to him...
Do warm-ups before exercising:
- Any exercise should start with warm up activities for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Warm up exercises like walking or light jogging improve the blood flow in muscles and prepare them for further exercise or sport.
- Warm ups should be followed by stretching muscles. Stretching improves flexibility and prevents injury to muscles.
Exercises to tackle muscle pulls:
- Simple stretches for upper limbs, like taking the limbs upwards, downwards, backwards and forwards, and holding them for 10 to 15 seconds (Pectoral, biceps and triceps pulls)
- Stretches should be done for muscles of upper chest, arms, forearms scapula and neck.
- One should feel the stretch or sustained pull in a particular muscle for some time before relaxing. These can be repeated for 5 to 10 times each.
- Similarly, you can stretch your back in forward and backward motions by bending, and sideways bending to each side. (Abdominal, back and oblique stretches)
- Chin and chest brought towards and away from knees, stretch your back and abdominal muscles.
- Sideways stretches improve the oblique.
- Hamstring stretches should be done standing or lying down. Chin and chest should be brought towards the feet and the position maintained for 10 to 15 seconds.
- Tendoachilles or calf stretching can be done raising one's self on toes and gently lowering down.
- Stretching exercises should be followed by regular exercises, which can be aerobic or strengthening in nature. Aerobic exercises are jogging, brisk walking or cycling. Strengthening exercises are weight lifting, which helps improve muscle mass.
Every exercise should be followed by a stretching and cooling off period. Gentle stretches of the neck, arms, back and legs after every workout will help muscles recover and stay healthy. Attention should be paid to well cushioned shoes and smooth surfaces for such exercises. Regular exercises of this nature will prevent muscle pull during any type of normal and exertion activities.
*Image courtesy: © Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images
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