You may fave heard to the term fascia, but what does it mean? Fascia is referred to the connective tissue that weaves throughout the body. The term fascia is Latin for "band" or "bundle". It is made up mostly of collagen. It holds the entire body together. There are four different types of fascia: structural, intersectional, visceral, and spinal. It surrounds all parts of the body from blood vessels, muscles, and organs. It allows the body to move and function as it should. When it's healthy, it it supple, flexible, and it glides. Exercising regularly, stretching every day, and staying hydrated are a few ways that you can maintain and improve the health of your fascia. Some of the benefits of maintaining healthy fascia include:
increased blood flow, which leads to faster recovery from exercise
improvement of alignment and body symmetry
scar tissue breakdown
reduced risk of injury
improved sports performance
reduced appearance of cellulite and stretch marks
What happens when fascia is unhealthy? It can become sticky tight, flaky, and clumpy. This can form adhesions, distortions, and adhesions (knots in the fascia). The causes of unhealthy fascia can include:
a sedentary lifestyle
poor sleep quality
unhealthy eating habits
overusing or injuring your muscles
What can you do to fix your fascial health? Improving your fascial health takes time and consistency. It will help improve mobility and reduce pain and stiffness in your muscles. Here are five ways you can fix your fascia:
Stretch every day: Stretching will help to release tension in the muscles which is part of the fascia, it will help you release tension as well. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds to a minute and do not push the stretch to a point of pain.
Try a mobility program: Mobility is defined as the body's ability to move well. Mobility tools like foam rollers, manual therapy, and myofascial work will help to break down the fascia and allow a person to be able to move better.
Try foam rolling: The foam roller is an amazing tool for self-myofascial release. Foam rollers come in different densities and are used for many areas of the body including, calves, glutes, and lats. When you find a trigger point, or a spot that is tight, work that area for 30-60 seconds as the pain slowly dissipates.
Get cardio exercise: Cardiovascular exercise will increase circulation, lower blood pressure, strengthen the immune system, reduce chronic pain, improve mood, and increase the quality of your sleep. This helps to keep the fascia healthy and can increase mobility.
Stay Hydrated: Hydration is vital for fascial health. It helps the body flush out toxins that are released through fascial work. A good rule for hydration is to drink half your body weight in ounces of water daily.
Here are some examples of stretches and mobility
Quad Stretch: Standing, hold your outside foot with your outside hand and lift the foot up towards your rear end, keeping your thighs and knees together. You should feel a gentle to moderate stretch in the front of the thigh. Hold for 30 seconds to one minute. Use a wall or counter for balance as needed.
Ankle Mobility: Ankle mobility helps contribute to better balance and decreased risk of falls. Stand next to s wall with one hand on the wall for stability. Slowly rock forward into a tip-toe position and then back onto the heels lifting the toes off the ground. Repeat 10 times.
Try these myofascial release techniques in this video from the Kore Fitness Video Library: