You hear it everywhere, on TV, social media, from your health professionals, from me! "EXERCISE consistently". However, their is a double edge sword to nature's design that allows us to be or stay active, and it isn't your fault (yay!).
For a movement to take place, your joint needs to mobilize & stabilize appropriately so your muscle can exert proper leverage from your skeletal system. If there is a compromise at any point in that chain, pain or discomfort will be felt, your joints are the first to scream for help.
Your joints: The main function of your joints is to create stability, especially during a movement. They are capable of mobility, some more so than others (shoulders) but in no way do they have the versatile mobility or strength of a muscle. They are the first in the kinetic chain and responsible of your postural alignment, which can be compromised by overactive muscles.
Your muscles: As you become consistent with your exercise programs, you build muscle mass over time. However that increase in muscle creates inconsistencies in the shape of the muscle belly, or knots. Those knots initially help the muscle create needed tension for your exercises, but at a price. They compromise the muscular balance NEEDED to maintain proper postural alignment.
Effects on your joints: A tight muscle or a knot in a muscle, will ALWAYS create a negative pull on its nearest joints. That joint is supposed to stabilize at rest but will struggle to do so as it isn't as strong in counteracting a muscular pull. These knots are usually severe and will cause pain even if your not "moving" the joint. Lesser muscular knots are not strong enough to compromise the joint in stability but can affect it in mobility (pain when joint is in "motion").
Conclusion: Muscle knots are important, they are a direct result of muscular use and allows for progressive overload to take place (built strength and lean muscle mass). Too many or too big of a knot, interferes with the muscular balance resulting in this tug of war between muscle and joint. Overtime postural alignment sets in and pain eventually follows, which then ends in injury.
Solution! Just as much time we spend in exercising, we must place equal amount of time in recovery. Yes stretches, ways to relieve some knots so they don't become too big for your joints to handle. With limited amount of time in our schedules, we can incorporate those stretches during our leisure times such as vacations / watching TV / reading / etc...
Tips: Most of the world spend their time sitting, a great way to make sure you reduce the effect of a broken postural alignment for your upper kinetic chain (hips & up) is to sit upright on your chair at the hip and squeeze your stomach actively. You will notice how much harder it is to slouch from that position. Unfortunately sitting automatically breaks your lower kinetic chain, so do try to stand up EVERY chance you get even for 30 secs, ( during a phone call, in-between E-mails, talking to a coworker) or simply go for a walk.
Should you need help to get you started, contact us at alistaireNF@gmail.com and let's make that step towards your fitness journey TOGETHER!