Fascia – what it is and why it is important

Although we have included a few images of Fascia and muscles in this blog post, the easiest way to explain what it is, is by using a little bit of visual imagery – you know we love to use visual imagery at Mindful Movements!http://reteks.ru

Think of peeling an orange. Peel off the outer layer of orange peel and let’s call this the outer layer of skin. Then you come to the second layer, a thin membrane that holds each segment of orange together – let’s call this the Superficial Fascial membrane. If you peel back that thin membrane on the orange segment, you will see a third layer – an even thinner layer of membrane protecting each little pocket of orange juice. We’ll call this the Deep Fascial membrane.

Fascia is a band or sheet of connective tissue, primarily collagen, beneath the skin that attaches, stabilizes, encloses, and separates muscles and other internal organs. With such a big job to do, you can see why it is important to make sure it stays healthy! Try this Fascia workout!

And if you are struggling with how to pronounce Fascia – there are two ways of going about it.

Fay-sha or Fah-sha.

Tow-may-to or Tom-ah-to… you decide ..

Like ligaments and tendons, Fascia is made up of fibrous connective tissue containing closely packed bundles of collagen fibers oriented in a wavy pattern parallel to the direction of pull. Fascia is consequently flexible and able to resist great unidirectional tension forces until the wavy pattern of fibers has been straightened out by the pulling force. These collagen fibers are produced by fibroblasts located within the fascia.

Fasciae are similar to ligaments and tendons as they have collagen as their major component. They differ in their location and function:

Do’s:
Hydrate – Muscles and surrounding tissues are made up of 75% water, which means they need to be constantly hydrated  to avoid (tissue) damage. Dehydration can lead to faster muscle fatigue, friction in the joints, muscles and fascia–all of which severely affects performance.

Tip: Aim to drink 50-75% of your body weight in ounces of water, daily. Drink at least a half litre of water 30 minutes before you exercise. Hydration helps speed up recovery times too!

Mobility is your priority – Stretch out your legs. Grab a foam roller, a tennis ball and some bands – Work out all the kinks in your muscles/fascia.

Nutrition and supplements – a high-quality omega-3 fatty acid supplement (fish oil) is your best friend. It helps with a number of bodily functions which includes but is not limited to:

Tip: A good one to look for is SO3+D3 Omega-3 Oil because of its high-quality ingredients and extra dose of vitamin D. I know the sun is shining today but an extra dollop of vitamin D does not hurt!

Don’ts:
“No pain, no gain” ? – Sure, sometimes when exercising it can hurt, but if you are having intense pain, burning, or other weird sensations it is best to stop what you are doing and seek professional help.

Rolling the IT Band – The IT band is a fibrous tissue, meaning it is made of hard connective tissue and is an extension of the tensor fascia latae muscle that starts at the top of our hip.

While rolling this band of fascia you may notice it resembles a gravel road with lots of bumps and turns. This is because the cells that comprise the band are formed that way. There is no elasticity to the IT band at all and by rolling it out you are probably just causing more micro trauma to the tissues under it.

The Fix: Try a dynamic warm-up like a side lunge to facilitate some motion into the hip joint and surrounding tissues.

Rolling the Plantar Fascia – Doing these techniques will not make the tissue longer and will cause more pain in the process.

The Fix: Barefoot walking is great. Or take a frozen water bottle and gently roll up and down the foot with minimal pressure. You could also use a tennis ball to roll the surrounding tissue and relieve some tension.

If you have taken any of the TRX Pilates classes with Karina Tosi (our beautiful Brazilian instructor) you will notice she always starts the classes with a session on the floor with the foam rollers. She has been harping on for weeks now about how important it is to release the Fascia so we hope this has helped explain Fascia a little more for you!

Karina’s class [6pm on Thursday and 11am on Saturday] is an excellent blend of cardio and strength training. If you are wanting tone up or just start exercising in a whole new and very FUN and challenging way, then this is the class for you! Phone the studio at 091 760 044 and sign up for a session. The classes are small  [8 people] with plenty of time for the instructors to keep an eye on you. So don’t dilly dally now ..

See you at the studio.

Sara x

 

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