Let’s talk about connections! Specifically connective tissue. You might have questions about it. What is connective tissue, what does it do, and how do you keep it healthy? Join us as we embark on a journey to unravel the secrets of maintaining optimal connective tissue health.
Connective tissue is what holds you together. It’s a vital component that often goes unnoticed. Understanding its role is crucial for anyone seeking to optimize their physical performance, prevent injuries, or simply live an active and pain-free life. From athletes striving for peak performance to individuals looking to maintain a vibrant and resilient body, everyone can benefit from nurturing their connective tissue.
The body is essentially one big piece of connective tissue, with no natural breaks in it. It weaves in and around muscles, organs, veins, and arteries and throughout the whole body. Aside from its importance to the body’s form and structure, it also aids in circulation, fat storage, body heat conservation, movement, and injury repair.
Like muscles, connective tissues can become tight and get knots and/or adhesions. An adhesion is when collegen fibers clump together but without the natural structure in the tissue. When connective tissues get tight, are dehydrated, or experience adhesions or other such issues, it can result in structural problems that can lead to stiffness, aches, pain, and even injury. Connective tissues are intertwined in the muscle and attach the muscle to bone. So, when the connective tissues become tight, they pull on the muscle, which pulls on the bone. This means that dysfunctional connective tissue leads to both muscular imbalance and structural (skeletal) misalignment.
Because a healthy connective tissue is so important for our optimal functioning, our structure, and especially for preventing or treating pain and injury, keeping it nourished and well is highly important.
Here we’ll look at some top tips for maintaining or achieving a healthy connective tissue.
Proper Movement Patterns
This can be easier said than done, especially for the untrained eye. However, some basic proper movement patterns can go a long way in helping maintain a healthy web of connective tissue. Proper movement patterns incorporate how you’re moving throughout the entire day. Having good posture, walking and running in proper alignment, moving and all planes, sleeping in neutral positions, etc. are all times to be aware of movement patterns. Improper movement patterns can cause knots, tension, and adhesions in the connective tissue that then cause muscular imbalance and overall structural imbalance that can cause pain and injury.
Getting activity throughout the day is important for keeping the connective tissues strong and hydrated. Activating the connective tissues and muscles, with even simple basic walking, moves the blood and lymph systems, keeping everything flowing. This promotes good circulation, a healthy immune system, detoxification, good digestion, and more.
Stretch & Roll
Staying flexible is an important step in making sure that the connective tissue remains appropriately loose and healthy. Additionally, using tools such as a foam roller helps to “iron out” knots and adhesions that are present in the fascia and connective tissues. Stretching doesn’t typically do a lot for releasing knots or adhesions in the connective tissue, so using methods such as foam rolling, acupressure, or structural integration are great ways for ironing existing tension in the connective tissue so that it operates properly.
Getting proper sleep and adequately managing stress is vital for healthy connective tissues. When sleep-deprived or overly stressed, connective tissues can become undernourished and tight, which leads to problems.
Making sure to stay adequately hydrated is important for providing elasticity. Muscles and the surrounding tissues are approximately 75% water, so being dehydrated can seriously hinder optimal functioning and limits mobility.
Don’t Fear Fat
Because connective tissues are made up of so much fat, being deficient in the essential fatty acids can cause deficiencies and dysfunction of these tissues. Surprising to many, the “right kind” of fats include naturally occurring fats from foods such as coconuts, nuts, and avocados. These fats help maintain proper composition and structure of the connective tissues.
Like any other tissue of the body, optimal dietary nourishment is crucial for a thriving, healthy connective tissue. Some of the key nutrients for connective tissue health include:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
Some great foods for connective tissue health include:
- Citrus fruits
- Fermented foods
- Sunwarrior’s Collagen Building Protein Peptides
If you want to move freely and without pain, it’s vital to maintain a healthy functioning connective tissue. Making sure to eat and drink well for the connective tissues, as well as move properly can go a long way in keeping these tissues in good shape!
If you’re looking for a way to boost your connectivity tissue, enjoy this collagen boosting Orange Creamsicle Smoothie!