Muscle tension is the best medicine in the world. It’s more potent than any drug, safer than any organic food and almost every side effect is an added bonus. Best of all, you don’t need a prescription for it, it’s available wherever you are and it won’t jack up your health insurance premiums. It may even decrease your premiums while reducing the number of medications you need over time!
As I describe in my new book, Smart Bodyweight Training, muscle tension is the active ingredient in your training. Whether you do Yoga, powerlifting, calisthenics, bodybuilding, or just go for a walk, the tension you create within your muscles is what makes your training effective. But, even though you use muscle tension to improve performance, build muscle and burn fat that same tension can help improve your health, unlike any prescription drug.
Here are just a few of the health benefits of creating muscle tension.
#1 Tension helps with blood sugar regulation
Blood sugar regulation helps you stave off a host of potential problems from the risk of diabetes to metabolic disease. Naturally, addressing these issues with diet, and not consuming too much sugar or carbohydrates, is a great thing to do, but it’s only half of the story. Your blood sugar regulation is one part diet but also one part carbohydrate utilization.
Muscle tension burns excess sugar and carbohydrates within your system. It’s like burning gas when your fuel tank is overflowing. Minimizing intake is good, but proactively burning excessive fuel is also very beneficial for your health and well being.
#2 Tension improves joint health
Your body is under the stressful pull of gravity 24/7. Even lying down can bring some measure of stress to your body and a lot of that stress can potentially flood into your joints. This is especially the case if you suffer from poor posture.
Muscle tension makes your muscles step up and handle the stress of life. It essentially sucks the stress right out of your joints so your very durable muscles handle the stress rather than the delicate tissues around your joints.
#3 Muscle tension provides emotional and phycological stress relief
Both your body and mind are designed to handle the flow of physical and emotional energy you use every day. Problems happen when either your body and mind don’t have an outlet to use that energy. It all just gets clogged up in your system and can create chronic stress resulting in disease, pain, and discomfort.
Using muscle tension gives you an outlet to express that energy rather than keep it pent up. This is why people often feel more energized and emotionally well-off after a workout compared to just numbing their pain with alcohol, drugs or television.
#4 It helps prevent Sarcopenia and health risks that come with age
Getting old isn’t for the young, that’s for sure! There are a number of challenges that come with age, many of which are associated with a loss of muscle mass and coordination.
Muscle tension is one of the best ingredients in helping you maintain, and even build, your muscle mass. Better yet, it also improves coordination and body control which can go a long way in preventing back pain, falls, and even osteoporosis.
#5 Muscle tension helps you stay mentally sharp
Muscle tension is a product of your mental concentration. It may seem like your muscles and physical body are doing the work, but the actual tension within your muscles is put there by your mind. That’s why it’s called your neuro-muscular system.
So while doing things like push-ups, or bridges may seem like physical skills, those moves are just as much about your mental capacity as your physical power. This is why physical activity can help keep you mentally sharp as you grow older.
Like all medications, muscle tension can be helpful or harmful depending on the dose. Doing too much and exposing your body to more than it’s capable of can be harmful so take it slow at first. As your tolerance grows you can up the dosage and reap even more benefits.