Excerpt: Top 5 Reasons Why Fascia Matters to Athletes (and Everyone Else)

“What do you get when you add juiciness to connectedness? Springiness! When your tissue retains (or regains) its natural spring, the rebound effect of the fascia allows you to use less muscle power, and therefore fatigue less rapidly. Want to jump higher, run faster, and throw farther? You’ll need to pay attention to nourishing the elastic quality of your fascia.
“While it’s difficult for us to understand how a support structure could be a fluid structure – because we’re not exactly making hi-rise buildings out of Jell-O – it’s true. Juicy fascia is happy fascia. The best analogy I can give is of a sponge. When a sponge dries out it becomes brittle and hard. It can easily be broken with only a little force because of how crispy it has become. However, when a sponge is wet and well hydrated it gets springy and resilient. You can crush it into a little ball and it bounces back. You can wring it and twist it, but it is difficult to break.
“Once we understand that we’re like that on the inside, keeping our fascia hydrated takes on more importance. Our mobility, integrity, and resilience are determined in large part by how well hydrated our fascia is. In fact, what we call “stretching a muscle” is actually the fibers of the connective tissue (collagen) gliding along one another on the mucous-y proteins called glycosaminoglycans (GAGs for short). GAGs, depending on their chemistry, can glue layers together when water is absent, or allow them to skate and slide on one another when hydrated.1,2 This is one of the reasons most injuries are fascial. If we get “dried out” we are more brittle and are at much greater risk for erosion, a tear, or a rupture.
“So drink more water, right? Well, yes and no. Staying hydrated via drinking continues to be important, but if you have dehydrated fascia it’s more like you have these little kinks in your “hoses” (microvacuoles), and so all that water you drink can’t actually reach the dehydrated tissue and gets urinated away, never having reached the crispy tissue. To be able to get the fluid to all of your important nooks and crannies you need to first get better irrigated (via the microvacuoles.3 And to do that, you’ve got to get work on your soft tissue to untangle those gluey bits.”

Top 5 Reasons…

1. Fascia is a tensional fluid system.

fascia, brooke thomas, understanding fascia, anatomy, fascial system, mobilityWhile it’s difficult for us to understand how a support structure could be a fluid structure – because we’re not exactly making hi-rise buildings out of Jell-O – it’s true. Juicy fascia is happy fascia. The best analogy I can give is of a sponge.

2. Variation matters.

Movement also gets the hydration out to the tissue as well, but that movement needs to be varied. This means variation not just of the movements themselves, but also variation of tempo.

3. It’s all connected.

In anatomy-speak we describe all muscles as having an origin and an insertion.

4. Its springiness wants to help you out.

What do you get when you add juiciness to connectedness? Springiness! When your tissue retains (or regains) its natural spring, the rebound effect of the fascia allows you to use less muscle power, and therefore fatigue less rapidly.

5. It is the largest and richest sensory organ of the body.

Now this little tidbit of recent fascial research was a shocker. It turns out fascia is one of our richest sensory organs with between six to ten times higher quantity of sensory nerve receptors than the muscles.4 In fact, it is possible fascia may be equal or superior to the retina, which has so far been considered the richest human sensory organ.5

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Excerpt: Top 5 Reasons Why Fascia Matters to Athletes (and Everyone Else) “What do you get when you add juiciness to connectedness? Springiness! When your…

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