Have you ever found yourself wondering how to relax your muscles after a long day? A lot of factors contribute to the situation where you might be asking yourself that exact question. It could be stress, feeling under the weather, or a job that adds to muscle tightness. It could even be a medical condition, such as a vitamin deficiency that causes muscle spasms.
If you're tired of feeling tense and weary, you're in luck - there are so many ways to find relief! Be it due to a relaxing massage or with the help of foot a spa, relaxation is never more than a few simple steps away. All you need is to learn how to relax, and soon, you will find your life improved in so many different aspects. Let us help you - read on to learn about the best relaxation techniques.
How to relax your muscles
The first step to finding relaxation is to simply allow yourself to do so. It may sound silly, but it's true. We live in a busy world, and our lives are lightning-fast. A typical day, filled with work, chores, and often too little sleep, does not promote muscle relaxation.
It's important to note that one can only go on for so long before needing to pause. It's good to take out a little moment out of your busy day and devote it to relaxing both your body and your mind.
Once you've made the decision to look after yourself and feel infinitely better, the next steps are relatively easy.
There are many ways to relax your muscles, and we will cover them in this article. Some of the options that lay before you are:
- a foot massage,
- progressive muscle relaxation,
- heat therapy,
- muscle relaxation exercises,
- mind-body exercises,
- and many more.
Without further ado, let's begin our journey to a better life by getting rid of muscle tightness!
How do you loosen tight muscles?
There are several ways to loosen tight muscles. You can choose your favorite or try out a few different techniques. You can even do a few at once!
Some basic stretching, especially when done regularly, can do wonders for tight muscles. Aside from stress and tiredness, one of the leading causes behind muscle tightness is remaining for too long in one position - a true peril of office workers, doctors, nurses, retail workers & more.
If you want to properly stretch, always start with a warm-up to not injure yourself. In general, if you do not currently exercise on a daily basis, we recommend starting out small. Even just some basic shoulder stretches or full body stretches will bring a lot of improvement, and they will also build up your stamina.
A massage, especially when done by a professional, is one of the most recommended ways of dealing with muscle tension. If you have the option, definitely give it a try.
Meditation & yoga
Amazing for both the body and mind, meditation and yoga are both irreplaceable. You don't need to sign up to a class to learn yoga or meditation techniques - there are countless resources online.
Drink water & take magnesium
Do you know that most people are dehydrated every single day? We simply forget to drink enough water! Bring a water bottle with you wherever you go, and if your doctor recommends it, start supplementing your magnesium.
What is good for tight muscles?
Other than the above methods, there are many other ways to treat muscle tightness.
An obvious answer, but so often neglected! If you find yourself feeling tight every single day, this is the first sign that you should slow down. Make time for a nap or a relaxing bath - chores can wait; your health should always come first.
Hot and cold packs
Depending on what brings you greater relief, a heating pad or an ice pack may reduce muscle stiffness and swelling. If your limbs are swollen, we'd recommend going with the cold route.
For shoulder and back pain and tightness, it's usually up to the individual. Some people prefer heat, while others choose the cold.
Aqua aerobics or just a regular, not athletic swim is often a great way to relieve muscle tightness. Don't overexert yourself. The point of being underwater is to reduce pressure and breathe easily.
The effect of stress on your muscles
If one wants to learn how to loosen muscle tightness, the first thing to do is to take a look at the cause. More often than not, stress will be a major factor.
If you're always in a hurry, worried about something, or have a tendency to spend the majority of your day in one position, your muscles are bound to suffer for it. We all often sit slightly hunched, our shoulders are tight, and if we're having a bad day, our jaws are clenched.
For those that are always on their laptops or using their mobile devices, a stiff neck is not unusual at all. These symptoms, when left untreated, may transform into chronic muscle tightening or worse, chronic pain.
If you suffer from anxiety, muscle tension is no stranger to you either. Symptoms such as persistent pain, clamping up, twitching, or muscle spasms all derive from anxiety and have a negative impact on our lives. This is why, when treating muscle tightness, it's crucial to consider both the mind and the body.
How do you stop tensing muscles?
Aside from the techniques described above, the key to not long-lasting relief is to change your mindset and your lifestyle. It truly sounds scarier than it is. Making some room in your life for relaxation techniques will only improve it - in more ways than one!
If you feel tight and stressed, the first thing to do is take a few deep breaths. Close your eyes, sit comfortably or lie down for a few minutes, and try to breathe. Whatever you still have to do can wait. At this moment, focus on thinking of something else.This technique is also helpful if you have trouble falling asleep.
Imagine yourself in a serene place, free of worries. Think of something that brings you inner peace, and consciously relax your muscles one by one, starting from your head and ending at the toes. We recommend doing this every single day.
Get a foot massage
When hearing of massages, the first thing that comes to mind is a traditional massage: the one where you're laying down, and someone is massaging your shoulders and your back. Those are amazing too, but never forget the benefits of a foot massage.
This can be done by a professional or an amateur. A massage helps you relax the feet, which in turn affects other areas of your body as well.
The vicious cycle of tight muscles and stress
You may not know this at first glance, but once you fall into a trap of constant stress, muscle tightness will follow - and one thing powers another, keeping you in this vicious cycle of discomfort.
A lack of relaxation creeps up on you. You won't know right away - you'll just have had a long day, exercised too hard, or had a stressful week. But then it happens again, and again, and again, and before you know it, you're constantly stressed, and your muscles are aching every hour of the day.
If this is you - don't worry. There is a way out of this cycle and a way to regain your serenity. You deserve to feel well and not lead a life tainted by constant stress. Make sure that you keep reading about our highly effective techniques.
How to relax muscles with progressive muscle relaxation
Progressive muscle relaxation is also known as PMR, and it is a well-known technique of reducing anxiety which was first introduced by American physician Edmund Jacobson back in the 1930s. Since then, the technique has only gained popularity, and it is now widely known worldwide.
If you have an anxiety disorder or simply lead a stressful life, you probably also suffer from severe muscle tightness. Giving PMR a go may be a true game-changer for you - something that will improve your life.
The key to PMR is to consciously tense up your muscles and then slowly release all of the tension. You should practically feel it seeping out of your body, rolling out of it in waves. A well-done PMR exercise will leave your muscles feeling pleasantly pliant and light.
Some of the body parts that benefit from PMR are:
- the forehead
- neck and shoulders
- arms and hands
Proven benefits of progressive muscle relaxation
Another study, from 2000 in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine, proved that those that practiced progressive muscle relaxation achieved greater relaxation, had a lowered heart rate & lowered their anxiety.
PMR has even been found to reduce cortisol (the stress hormone).
Muscle relaxation exercises to get started
Whether you're looking to find out how to stop muscle spasms or simply how to relax your muscles, the first answer most physicians will give you is simply: light exercises.
If you already exercise regularly, you probably know the importance of it. Exercising helps you develop your muscles, and while you may feel a bit sore the next day, the long-term benefits cannot be overstated.
However, if you find yourself with sore muscles and no experience, you need to start slow. Even light exercising will help relieve your muscle pain. Don't rush in - take it easy and allow your body to adapt to the positive changes you are making.
Mini-exercises to relax muscles fast
If you are looking to learn some quick exercises that will teach you how to relax muscles, we have compiled a list for you to begin with.
Some exercises for you to try are:
- Breathing: breathe slowly and evenly. When you breathe in, hold your breath for a few seconds, then slowly exhale.
- Forehead: squeeze the muscles in your forehead for up to 15 seconds. You should increase the intensity with each second. Slowly release the tension little by little, counting in your head for 30 seconds.
- Jaw: tense up your jaw for 15 seconds, and then count in your head as you release the tension for 30 seconds.
- Neck, shoulders, back: raise your shoulders up towards your neck. Hold for 15 seconds. Slowly release the tension as you breathe deeply.
- Hands and arms: ball up your hands into fists, then tighten your arm muscles as you pull up your hands to your chest. Slowly release and let down your arms.
- Legs: over 15 seconds, increase the tension in your thighs and calves. Squeeze as hard as your muscles allow without feeling pain. Gently release over 30 seconds while breathing in and out.
- Feet: ball up your toes and increase the tension in your feet over 15 seconds, then release over 30.
Relaxing your muscles as a warm-up exercise
No one should ever jump right into exercising. It's important that you warm-up, whether you're going for a jog, to the gym, or even for a faster swim.
Most warm-ups aren't very lengthy, but they allow your muscles to relax and prepare for the bout of exercise you are about to begin. Never neglect the importance of warming up, especially if you often suffer from muscle soreness or tension.
The above techniques will work well as a warm-up to lighter exercise.
Some other forms of warm-ups include a light jog, rotations, stretching, or exercises performed when laid down.
Meditation is probably the most known mind-body exercise, but it is not the only one. While we heartily recommend meditation to everyone that wants to find their inner peace, it's fantastic to supplement it with other options too.
Some other well-known mind-body exercises are:
- Yoga - amazing for both the body and the mind, yoga helps you stretch and relax.
- Pilates - Pilates emphasizes proper posture, core strength, and helps you find your inner strength.
- Gyrotonics - this is a system of exercise that incorporates yoga, dance, Tai Chi & more.
- Tai Chi - originating from ancient China, Tai Chi focuses on mindfulness, generating internal energy, and finding serenity.
Massage or sauna
Many say that there is no better way to relax than a muscle relaxing massage. Just the thought of it is often heavenly - who hasn't wanted a massage after a long day at work? Your body is right in calling for a massage, because massages truly do bring immense relief.
When your muscle tension is severe, we recommend seeing a professional to receive a massage. A quick shoulder rub from a friend will bring relief, but allowing an amateur to handle your muscles is risky and may leave you feeling sore. That's why we recommend shiatsu massagers for at home use.
Another great way to seek relief is to buy a sauna for at home. Saunas are healthy for our respiratory systems, but also for our muscles. If you manage to go regularly, you will find great improvement in how tense your muscles are.
No matter the underlying cause of your tense muscles, there are so many ways to retrieve your peace and find relaxation. Invest in yourself - your body deserves it - and start our quick relaxation techniques today. You will thank yourself in just a few short days of following our techniques.