It is pretty essential to know about why muscle health is important, and what you can do to keep your muscles healthy and strong.

Should you be concerned about muscle health?

The human body contains roughly 640 muscles, which help us perform daily tasks ranging from basic movements like standing up to more complex actions like riding a bike or playing tennis.

Because they’re involved in nearly everything we do, it makes sense that muscle health is important to the overall health of our bodies, but it may not always be obvious to most people.

Health benefits of muscles

The functions of your muscles are incredibly diverse – they allow you to breathe, make facial expressions, regulate your temperature, and exercise, among other things. Here are 10 lesser-known benefits of having strong muscles

1. Keep bones, joints, and ligaments strong

Muscles are important for keeping bones, joints, and ligaments strong. When the muscles contract, they push against the bones and create tension.

This tension holds the bones together and keeps them from moving. Joints are made up of cartilage and bone. The cartilage cushions the bone while it moves and helps to protect it.

Ligaments connect bones together and keep them from moving too far apart. Muscles act like a force field around these structures, keeping them in place and supporting them.

2. Improve balance

Balance is an important ability that we need to stay safe. To maintain balance, your muscles have to work together in order to keep you upright.

When you stand on one foot, your calf muscles contract while your hamstring muscles stretch. This causes your body to shift weight towards the support leg, which helps you stay upright.

The same principle occurs when you are walking or running. Your muscles work together in order to keep you upright and moving forward.

3. Reduced risk of heart disease

Muscles are important because they help us move around and perform activities. When we have healthy muscles, they can lower the risk of heart disease.

One reason is that muscles help increase blood flow through the vessels in our body. This ensures that oxygen and nutrients are available to our cells and helps prevent damage.

Additionally, muscles can reduce the amount of fat that is stored in our bodies. This makes us less likely to develop heart disease or other types of weight problems.

4. Strengthens the immune system

Muscles play an important role in strengthening the immune system. When you exercise, your muscles contract and push against fluids, lymph, and waste products.

This packing of muscle fibers together helps to clear out these substances and protects your body from infection.

In addition, regular physical activity helps to circulate blood more evenly throughout the body, providing more nutrients and oxygen.

This increased ability to fight off infections is especially important during cold and flu season, when the immune system is most taxed.

5. Stabilize blood sugar levels

Your muscles play an important role in stabilizing blood sugar levels. When you have more muscle, your body is better able to use insulin to keep blood sugar levels under control.

That’s why exercising is important for improving insulin resistance and blood glucose regulation.

Insulin is a type of hormone that promotes sugar uptake from the blood into the muscles. Usually, muscle cells contain insulin receptors which allow the insulin to get in.

However, in insulin resistance, the receptors don’t work, making it difficult for glucose to enter the cell. So exercise builds new muscle cells that are more receptive to insulin, thus improving glucose uptake.

In addition, muscles help store glucose in the form of glycogen, which can be used as energy when blood sugar levels drop.

If you maintain a healthy weight by regularly using your muscles, they may help prevent type 2 diabetes and obesity because they take up fat stores around the waist.

Back view of african american woman flexing muscular bicep

Signs that your muscles could be in poor health

If you want to know what to look out for, here are some signs of weakening muscles:

1. You’re not getting enough sleep

One of the most common signs of poor muscle health is not getting enough sleep. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body doesn’t have time to repair itself.

This can lead to inflammation, which can cause muscle pain. Not getting enough sleep can also lead to fatigue, which can make it difficult to exercise.

If you’re not getting enough sleep, try going to bed earlier or taking a nap during the day.

2. You don’t exercise

If you’re not exercising regularly, your muscles are likely weak and unhealthy. Exercise is essential for building strong muscles, so if you’re not getting enough, it’s time to start adding some physical activity to your routine.

You don’t need to do anything extreme like running marathons or powerlifting–even going for a leisurely walk can hugely impact your muscle health.

3. You’re sitting all-day

If you work a sedentary job or spend most of your free time sitting, that’s a big red flag for poor muscle health.

When you don’t use your muscles, they start to atrophy, or waste away. This can lead to pain, stiffness, and a decrease in mobility. Plus, it can make it harder to stay active and do the things you love.

To combat the effects of a sedentary lifestyle, make sure to get up and move around regularly throughout the day.

Taking breaks to walk or stretch every 20 minutes or so can help keep your muscles healthy and prevent some of the negative effects of sitting all day.

4. Overworking your body

One of the most common signs of poor muscle health is overworking your body. This can lead to muscles that are constantly tight, sore, and fatigued.

It can also lead to injuries, as your body is more susceptible to strains and tears when it’s overworked. If you find that you’re constantly pushing yourself to the point of exhaustion, it’s time to reevaluate your workout routine and make some changes.

5. Drinking alcohol regularly

If you drink alcohol on a regular basis, your muscles are likely not getting the nutrients they need to stay healthy. Alcohol can deplete the body of vitamin C, which is essential for muscle health.

Additionally, alcohol inhibits the body’s ability to absorb protein, another vital nutrient for muscle growth and repair. If you’re drinking more than a few drinks per week, your muscles are probably not as healthy as they could be.

What are the effects of poor muscle health?

Now you may know what good or bad muscle health entails. However, why does having good muscle health matter?

1. Low energy levels

Do you always feel tired? Feeling fatigued is one of the first signs that your muscle health might be in decline.

Low energy levels can also signify other health problems, so it’s important to see a doctor to rule those out. But if you’re generally feeling run down, it might be time to focus on your muscle health.

Here are ways to improve your overall muscle health:

  • Strength train 2-3 times per week – It’s important to build lean muscle mass by incorporating strength training into your routine.
  • Consistency is key! You should aim for 2-3 strength training sessions per week.
  • Decrease stress levels – Stress has been shown to negatively affect mental and physical health, so try to decrease stress by practicing mindfulness or getting involved in activities that make you happy.

2. Joint pain

Joint pain is a common symptom of poor muscle health. When muscles are weak, they can’t support the joints as well as they should, which can lead to pain.

Joint pain can also be caused by inflammation or arthritis. If you’re experiencing joint pain, it’s important to see a doctor to rule out any serious underlying conditions.

In the meantime, you can do a few things at home that may help relieve your symptoms and prevent further damage.

For example, exercises like Pilates will help strengthen your core and improve stability. You may also want to try using cold packs on your sore area for 20 minutes every few hours to relieve joint pain temporarily.

3. Slower recovery from exercise

If you find that you’re taking longer to recover from your workouts, it could be a sign that your muscle health is poor.

When your muscles are healthy, they’re able to repair themselves quickly after being put under stress.

However, when they’re not functioning properly, it takes longer for them to bounce back. This can lead to feeling sore for longer after exercise and even increased risk of injury.

4. Weaker athletic performance

If you’re an athlete, poor muscle health can lead to weaker performance. You might not be able to train as hard, or you might start seeing more injuries.

Eventually, your results will suffer. Even if you’re not an athlete, weak muscles can still affect your quality of life. You might have trouble doing everyday activities, or you might start feeling the pain more often.

5. Back, neck, and shoulder pain

If you’re experiencing pain in your back, neck, and shoulders, it could be a sign of poor muscle health.

Muscles play an important role in supporting your spine and keeping your posture aligned. When they’re weak or imbalanced, it can lead to pain and discomfort.

For some people, the pain may worsen as they get older. To prevent these issues from occurring, perform exercises that target these areas on a regular basis.

These include lower-back stretches, upper-back stretches, side stretches for the thoracic region, shoulder shrugs, and rotator cuff stretches.

Start by doing 15 repetitions three times per week. Gradually increase to 20 repetitions three times per week if you are new to this type of exercise; or 30 repetitions three times per week if you have been regularly performing them for at least six months.

6. Reduced flexibility

If you’re not maintaining good muscle health, you may notice a reduction in your flexibility. This can lead to more stiffness and pain, as well as decreased range of motion.

Over time, this can result in a loss of mobility and independence. If you’re not able to move as freely as you used to, it’s important to take steps to improve your muscle health.

7. Lower stamina

Another way poor muscle health presents itself is through lower stamina. This can manifest in feeling more exhausted than usual during activities you used to be able to do with ease.

It can also lead to taking more breaks than normal or not being able to do an activity for as long as you used to.

Feeling these effects can be frustrating and may lead to avoiding physical activity altogether.

Additionally, lowered stamina can make it difficult to recover from exercise and leave you feeling sore for longer periods. Also, exercising becomes a greater risk for injury if your muscles are too weak.

8. Headaches, migraines and tension headaches

Headaches are one of the most common problems associated with poor muscle health. Tension headaches, in particular, are often caused by tight muscles in the neck and shoulders.

Migraines can also be related to muscle tension and other factors like dehydration or eye strain. If you suffer from chronic headaches, it’s important to see a doctor to rule out any other potential causes.

9. Increased risk of illness

Your muscles play an important role in keeping your body healthy and functioning properly.

When muscle health is poor, it can lead to a number of health problems, including weight gain, high blood pressure, bone loss, and heart disease.

These problems don’t just affect the person with unhealthy muscles—they can also significantly impact family members who care for them!

10. Digestive issues like bloating, gas, constipation

Bloating, gas, constipation, and heartburn are all digestive issues that can be caused by poor muscle health.

When the muscles in your digestive system are weak, they can’t work properly to move food through your system.

This can lead to a build-up of toxins and undigested food, which can then cause problems like bloating, gas and constipation.

Final thoughts on muscle health:

It’s easy to overlook the importance of healthy muscles when you consider your overall health and wellness, but your muscles play an integral role in every single one of your body’s systems.

In fact, many chronic conditions have their roots in unhealthy muscles, so it’s important to pay attention to any warning signs that indicate muscle health problems and have it resolved.

Other related lifestyle articles:

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  2. Plant Based Sources of Zinc
  3. Vegan Brain Booster Foods
  4. 10 Foods That Boost The Immune System
  5. Vitamins and Minerals to Boost Metabolism
  6. How To Stay Healthy When Traveling
  7. Eating Healthy Food On A Budget

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