Wednesday, May 3, 2017

How to Keep Healthy Hamstrings

At one point or another in our lives, we have all experienced the excruciating pain that
comes with a leg cramp. Why does it hurt so much? Oftentimes, this pain is due to an
involuntary muscle contraction of the hamstring muscles from the back of the thigh.

If after experiencing pain in your hamstrings, your first instinct is to stretch them, you might want to stop. The nervous system controls tension in the hamstrings and stretching them to alleviate pain or make them “longer” can be dangerous. Hamstring muscles are connected to the rest of your body and play an important role for knee and hip motion. Stretching them might put you at risk of injuring your spine or lower back, tearing your tendon, or rupturing discs.

If you are trying to alleviate pain in your hamstring muscles or simply trying to keep them healthier, try one of these methods instead:

Walk it Out

Walking, even if done in a leisurely manner, is the fastest way to stretch your legs
without doing any heavy exercise. Research suggests that walking can improve blood
circulation and strengthen your muscles. This can even be done while taking a lunch
break or by frequently taking 5-10 minute breaks during the middle of the workday. Try
to find as many reasons as you can to get up from your working area, so you can be as
active as possible.

Drink Water

Drinking water during the day can help you stay hydrated and aid in the delivery of rich
nutrients from your body to your muscles. Doctors recommend to drink anywhere from
8-16 cups of water per day, depending on your body type and needs. However, keep in
mind that drinking too much water can also dilute the level of sodium in your blood
stream and cause severe muscle spasms.

Do Light Stretches

Doing a couple of easy and simple stretches can help loosen up your hamstring
muscles. For example, many experts recommend starting the day by stretching in the
morning. A good exercise provided by Health Magazine involves “a slight bend in the
knees, core flexed and weight in the heels, reach your rear backwards while lowering
your chest toward the ground.” Other good exercises that are light and easy for your hamstring muscles are hamstring door way stretches and chair hamstring stretches

Heating Pads

Using a heating pad under your legs can help loosen your hamstrings, particularly when
they are feeling too tense or tight. While heat can be a great way to loosen a sore or
cramped muscle, it is often advised to avoid using it for more serious muscle injuries.
Using heat for serious injuries may cause swelling and increase pain.

Get More Sleep

Getting your full 7 to 9 hours of sleep at night can be very important when trying to heal
any type of muscle pain. During sleep, the body undergoes a restorative and biological
maintenance done by the brain. Therefore, sleeping the recommended hours by your
doctor can give your brain the opportunity to do this correctly and heal your body.

In all, leading a healthy and active lifestyle is the biggest key to having healthy
hamstring muscles. This might be especially true for individuals that spend too much
time sitting down in an office environment or in their daily lives. Listening to the tips
mentioned above and taking frequent walking breaks or stretching while you sit may
help more than you think. We would love to hear your thoughts, so please let us know in
the comments section below!