Is that fat on those Olympians?

Well, the 2008 Olympics have been going on for awhile now.  If you haven’t watched, then you’re missing out on some prime examples of functional bodies and motions.

Primarily, if you watch the gymnasts and swimmers warming up.  If you see them swinging their arms around, you might notice that there is a LOT of motion in their arms.  You might even think it looks like fatty tissue moving around–which seems odd since you don’t normally see any fat on the atheletes’ bodies.

Well, what you’re looking at is relaxed muscle tissue.  When muscles and the associated fascia are at a properly lengthened and toned state, they should feel like a gel and you should be able to gently press though the entire muscle belly to the tissue/bone beneath it.  It is tight, restricted muscles that get the “hard muscle” feel that many associate with strength.  Actually, the relaxed muscles will be stronger.  When you contract that muscle, the gel turns into that “hard muscle” that you expect.  If the muscle is always in that state, it’s wasting energy by being partially contracted (or resisting being pulled apart) all the time.

So, if you feel like you have these tight muscles and not the gel like ones, what can you do?  Well, a great idea is to stretch.  Yes, it is always said, but who actually does enough?  Frankly, EVERYONE can benefit from some more stretching.  Animals do it instinctively when they get up after sleeping or laying down for awhile.  Take a few minutes and stretch when you wake up in the morning or after getting up from sitting for a long time.

For those with Restless Leg Symdrome, some leg strecthing before going to bed can be beneficial as well.  While not as direct as doing Rolfing, it does provide some benefit.  And stretching is a excellent adjust to furthering your Rolfing progress as well.

And most importantly, after doing anything “athletic” (even if you define that as house work), take those few minutes and give your body some breathing room.

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