If you feel like you could use some advice on enhancing your muscle health and increasing strength, you’ve come to the right place. Muscle health can suffer with repetitive movement, a “weekend warrior” approach to exercise, improper technique while performing physical activity or playing sports, and traumatic injury.

Dr. Struan Coleman and his team are MVPs when it comes to counseling you about building muscle strength and reaching a state of robust muscle health. Even though Dr. Coleman is a highly talented and experienced board-certified orthopedic surgeon, part of his approach to patient care involves educating you about preventive steps you can take to avoid injury.

Why are healthy muscles important?

Healthy muscles are the cornerstone of a strong, healthy body. When you build muscle strength, you:

  • Are more likely to avoid injury
  • Protect your joints
  • Build stronger bones
  • Increase your energy
  • Improve balance (which reduces fall risk)
  • Enhance your posture

Muscle health is also linked to better energy, lower stress, and reduced blood sugar, so keeping your muscles in tiptop shape not only helps them, it improves your overall long-term health.

What can compromise muscle health?

Sore or weak muscles happen to everyone, especially after a particularly tough workout, but persistent problems occur when you do things like awkwardly lift something heavy, fail to wear  the proper protective gear when you play sports, and amp up your physical activity too suddenly.

Certain sports strain specific muscle groups more than others, like those that require you to grip something tightly (baseball, tennis), and sports that involve lots of running, like basketball.

You’re also more prone to injury the older you get, though even adolescents can be particularly vulnerable to muscle injury when they go through a growth spurt.

Compromised muscles lead to a host of problems that may even lead to surgery, including:

  • Rotator cuff injuries
  • Hamstring injuries
  • Shoulder problems

Rotator cuff injuries occur when the tendons that connect your muscles to your bones are strained and overstretched, while hamstring injuries are more likely when your muscles are fatigued and tight.

When the tendons, ligaments, and muscles that surround your shoulder tear, you may experience painful shoulder dislocation. This injury can happen more than once, and that puts you at higher risk for arthritis in the joint later on.

And muscle problems aren’t isolated. If your muscles aren’t in the best condition, you’re more susceptible to injury and future problems that aren’t related to the muscles themselves.

What you can do to support muscle health

You’ll feel empowered by adopting these muscle-healthy habits. Dr. Coleman recommends:

1. Movement (but it needs to be smart)

Have you ever heard the phrase “Motion is lotion?” It means that keeping moving keeps you healthy, and this is definitely true for your muscles. There are right and wrong ways to move, though.

Rather than demanding too much from your body and failing to pace yourself, pick up resistance training, which involves using things like weights or bands to make your muscles work against something. Exercises like leg lifts and push-ups are similarly beneficial. Even vacuuming and mowing the lawn count.

2. Variety is the spice of life

It’s better for your muscles if you use them in a variety of ways. That’s why it’s best to do resistance training a couple days a week and balance it with aerobic exercise and flexibility building activities, with rest periods sprinkled in too.

3. Proper preparation is everything

You’re being kind to your muscles when you don’t jar your body by starting exercise very suddenly. Warming up with stretches and lightly jogging or walking in place do the trick.

4. Form is key

Learning how to do an exercise properly means your muscles won’t be strained. Fewer repetitions done more slowly is actually more muscle-protective than many reps done without moving through your full range of motion.

5. Maintain balance

Similar to performing a variety of different activities, it’s good to work different muscles more or less equally. If you only focus on your legs, for example, you’ll neglect your arm and core muscles.

In addition to repairing injuries and degenerative problems, Dr. Coleman is invested in helping you take good care of yourself, so you’re less likely to end up in the operating room — and if you do, healthier muscles will contribute to a more rapid recovery. As a trusted specialist for professional athletes, you’re in great hands here.

Call our Midtown West, Locust Valley, or Philadelphia office to schedule an appointment to discuss your muscle and joint health, or reach out to us online.

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