Saturday, 10 March 2012

How Muscles Can Make You Look Older Than You Are and What To DO

How Muscles Can Make You Look Older Than You Are and What To DO

We spend lots of money on things to make us look younger - creams, lotions, dermatologic procedures, plastic surgery - when there's one thing you can do that will wipe away at least ten years off your appearance.
Stand up straight.
I'm serious.
Think for a minute about how many people you know or see who have a slumped posture - rounded shoulders, head forward - and what's your first reaction is to the appearance? They look older.
And you make judgements about them - one being their self-confidence and general likability. They seem less self-confident.
But standing up straight is not as easy as it sounds. Many people, after years of a sedentary lifestyle, allowing gravity to win, find it very difficult to re-align themselves into an upright or what we call "neutral" posture.
The reason is that muscles are dynamic structures. They adapt to the environment. So, after sitting or slouching for years, certain muscles will get tight or short while others will get loose or long. The end result is an upright posture that has gradually become less than ideal.
One of the muscles that gets tight and makes it difficult for you to stand up straight is the Pectoralis Minor - a muscle on the chest wall that attaches to a small area on the front of your shoulder blade.
When this muscle is tight, it pulls the shoulder forward creating one part of the slumped posture.
And the Pec Minor is not very easy to stretch - by your self - either.
If you search the Internet, you'll get a bunch of stretches for the "Pec Minor" - and few of them really work because they involve using the arm to create the stretch.
But the Pec Minor doesn't attach to the arm. So, standing in a door way, yanking on your arm and twisting your body around will stretch all sorts of structures. It just won't stretch the Pec Minor much at all.
SO, what do you do?
Well, one good technique to stretch the Pec Minor includes a helper.
You lie on your back while your helper places one hand over the area where the muscle attaches to the chest and then holds your arm and pulls up then down and back. You have to do this several times per session and a few times per day which makes it impractical for most people.
I have another idea.
One the problems with stretching muscles is something called the "spindle reflex". If you apply a stretch to a muscle to fast or too aggressively, the muscle will reflexively contract. You've probably felt this if you've ever tried to stretch your hamstrings and had a really tight feeling in the muscles. Part of that tightness is the muscle contracting which tends to make the stretch a lot less effective.
So, instead, I use a low load, long duration, chill-out while you do it stretch. You can do it at home, by your self and it works.
Here's a video of it- Generally, after a few weeks, you'll notice a change in your appearance. You'll be more upright and maybe even taller.
My core health philosophy is simple: life is movement. When you can't move freely or in a way you need or want to, suddenly your life seems a lot smaller. So, I promote movement through the fundamentals first: know your abilities and weaknesses, work on the weakness, build your stability, balance and endurance, then your strength, then power, then stamina. If you've tried just about everything under the sun to get healthy & fit or are fed up with programs that leave you feeling worn out, frustrated with lousy results or worse, injured, then I'm your guy - Fusion can help you. Why? I make complex, sometimes even contradictory, health & fitness concepts dead simple to understand and use.
Doug Kelsey PT, PhD
Fusion Performance Training


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