The Facts about Mixed Martial Arts

Have you seen the Ultimate Fighting Championship? If you have, then you already know why this sport uses mixed martial arts. For those who have no idea, here are some facts you should know about.

Mixed martial arts made its introduction in early 1990’s. Its growth was very slow at first and it was always both brutal and violent. In the years that followed, rules were set up which helped gain its popularity among the audience which enabled television channels to broadcast it in the airwaves.

mixed martial arts

Despite the rules, matches between two fighters are still violent. Some leave the ring with a broken arm or leg while others have cuts or bruises. The only good news is that no one has died yet in the ring unlike boxing. Just to give you an idea, there are at least 11 boxers who die every year.

The reason why you call it mixed martial arts is because a fighter for instance in judo challenges another fighter in another martial art discipline. The key to winning depends on your technique and your conditioning.

Mixed martial arts are now more popular than boxing or wrestling. In one show, it made $30 million and the company owned by the Fertita brothers is now worth $700 million.

The athletes who also participate in these matches get paid very well. One example is Diego Sanchez who was given $7,000 for a fight. If he won the match, he gets an additional $7,000. You could earn more depending on your skill. Top rated fighters can get $200,000 or even more for just one fight.

If you saw the Contender which featured Sylvester Stallone, Sugar Ray Leonard and a few up and coming boxers, a mixed martial arts version came out soon after. Here, amateur fighters are trained by professionals and compete in elimination matches until the last two standing fight for the title of the Ultimate Fighter.

Mixed martial arts has spread throughout the globe. They are called by different names as well. In Japan, it is called PRIDE. The ring and the rules may be different but its essence remains the same.

What you see is what you get when two fighters enter the ring. This means there is no script and everything you see is real. If a fighter goes down, it is because one fighter was better skilled then than the other.

Mixed martial arts is growing despite the fact that it was once banned in television by Senator McCain. Experts believe that it will peak in the next 15 to 20 years and who knows; this sport may one day be part of the Olympics.

But despite what you see on television, mixed martial arts is a great form of exercise and it also teaches you about self defense. This is very useful regardless of your age or gender because criminals attack when they think you are vulnerable.

As a result, a lot of gyms offer classes to their members. Other benefits of learning mixed martial arts include building your self confidence and making you strong both mentally and physically. Children can also learn it so they can defend themselves if ever someone at school decides to pick on them which is something that no parent wants their child to experience.

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Exercise And Stress

Even though exercise may not be the most exciting word in your vocabulary, it sure is a word with a
lot of benefits. Participating in daily exercise will not only make you healthier in general, but it can also diminish the effects of stress on your body as well.

Think about all the times you have heard someone say “the doctor says it’s stress related”. Normally
people will laugh it off, concluding that doctors say that when they don’t know the real answers or
diagnosis. The truth of the matter is that too much stress will play a role in many diseases.

 

To help increase your immune system and decrease your stress level as well, try exercise, as movement is the key word here. Bending, stretching, reaching and walking. There’s really no need to buy any expensive equipment either, as you can implement more movement into your daily routine and reap the benefits.

If you like aerobic exercise, you should grab a partner and have a blast with one of the basic aerobic videos. Or, you can simply go out for a walk and enjoy spending time together. As you may have heard, walking really is the best overall exercise you can do for your health. As long as you have a pair of walking shoes, you’ll be fine.

As you go through your daily activities, make it a point to walk a little farther, bend down and pick something up without using a pick up stick or moving the item towards you with your foot. While you are sitting, you should also do some simple and quick stretches for your neck and shoulders.

If you enjoy sitting around watching television, you should consider buying a jogging board. These padded boards will make running, jumping, or walking in place less stressful on your knees and joints. They are easy to store as well and also very portable.

In many people’s opinions, jogging boards are the best pieces of equipment you can buy. They are also far cheaper than bulky treadmills and stationary bikes.

There are several different exercises that you can do to help you eliminate the stress in your life. Walking is by far the best, as you can easily lose yourself and your troubles by walking. Even if it is just around the block, walking can do wonders for your health as well as stress.

If you have a lot of stress in your life, you may want to consider a gym. Working out then sitting in the sauna is also a good way to relieve tension. If your gym has a pool, you may find swimming to be very beneficial as well, as it helps you to relax.

 

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How to Prepare for a Pilates Class

Are you planning to soon join a Pilates class? Be warned that walking into any Pilates studio could be daunting, especially if it is your first time. You would notice a variety of very odd-looking contraptions, which you could logically infer as ‘Pilates machines.’ Never worry. Whichever studio you go to, there surely would be a knowledgeable and friendly staff or personnel who would accommodate and orient you to Pilates sessions.

So how could you prepare for your first ever Pilates class? You might be truly excited. There is no need to be nervous or to be embarrassed. Beginners are always welcome to join such classes. Here are practical tips that would help you overcome your first-time jitters.

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What you should bring

Remember that you do not need to take with you much when you drop by any Pilates studio. Generally, the studio provides every equipment and material you would need for the workout. However, you may prefer to workout using your own mat.

Pilates mats are commercially available in various stores. You should be lucky enough to learn that your studio might actually be selling such items. Take note that such mats are usually made a bit thicker than any conventional yoga mat. Ask your instructor about his recommendations before you purchase your Pilates mat.

It is important to make yourself properly hydrated prior to starting the workout. Thus, you would still need to carry with you a water bottle. You would not need to guzzle water during the workout just like what you usually do on your aerobic and cardiovascular workouts. But you certainly would feel a little thirsty at the middle of the session so keep a water bottle handy.

What to wear

You should not dress to impress when attending a Pilates class. It is very important that you make sure your clothes are comfortable. Wear outfits that would enable you to make movements and to fully stretch. Loose clothes are fine, but keep away from baggy clothes. The instructor should be able to see your body during the workout to see if your alignment is correct during movements.

Baggy clothes may tend to be too revealing especially because there are certain movements that are very complicated. As for the footwear, take note that Pilates should be done barefoot. There is no need to buy and wear fancy and fashionable shoes.

Avoid wearing excess accessories. Belts, long necklaces, and dangling bracelets are not only distracting; they could also pose dangers especially if they get caught up in the Pilates equipment. You surely would not want to strangle yourself. Also make sure your hair is tied back so it would not fall into your face and cause discomfort. You may also opt to wear hair bands. There would be no problem if your hair is cut short.

One last advice: do not wear strong perfumes and deodorants before going to the Pilates class. This is because many people are simply sensitive to strong scents. You need to be considerate of others.

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Exercise Tasks in Pilates

Pilates is truly one of the popular physical fitness systems nowadays. Many gyms and fitness centers are now rolling out or offering Pilates classes for members. Pilates aficionados would certainly assert that the system is really helpful in providing balance for the body and the mind.

As years go by, mankind’s lifestyle is fast changing. Contrary to the lifestyles of ancient people who are more inclined to physical labor, today’s generation is different because most existing jobs nowadays are stationary in nature. Thus, people need to do other activities like exercises to keep their blood flowing smoothly, to burn calories, and to flex those muscles for resistance.

Pilates

But just like all other special physical exercises, Pilates has its own set of style and mechanics. To be able to acquire and maximize the full benefits of the activity to the body, it would be advisable if you would be knowledgeable of the special tasks and body positions when conducting Pilates. Just like in all exercises, coordination of physical stress and breathing is the key to effectiveness of the exercise.

Footwork in Pilates

To begin with, you must observe proper posture and procedure when doing footwork in Pilates. Be aware of the recommended first position before you proceed to start the Pilates exercise session. You could choose to try out ‘the monkey on a branch,’ which is a relaxing initial footwork position.

However you want to start your Pilates session, it is important that you make sure your heels are in parallel position. Your toes must also be parallel to each other. Doing so would enable you to easily do an internal rotation, which would be necessary in some part of the exercise.

There are also lunges exercises that are incorporated in modified form in Pilates. Examples are the calf raises, where the leg muscles are exercised and flexed. You could also put your body weight to a single leg on your heel or your toe.

Supine positions in Pilates

Other than the footwork, you should also be aware of the different supine or lying positions when doing the exercise. Such exercises really would help the body achieve total relaxation. Take note that while the body is in the relaxed state during supine positions, movements still are energy consuming to achieve benefits of a regular exercise.

Such positions include ‘Chicken Wings’ (for the arm portion of the body), ‘Lat Pulls’ (for the lateral region of the body), ‘Angels’ (similar to Chicken Wings that target the chest and arm regions), ‘The Hundred’, ‘Frog Extensions’ and triceps exercises during Pilates. ‘Levitation Verite’ is also among them, as well as short spine stretch.

If you want to attain the full benefits of the supine positions, you must make sure there is full coordination of the overhead portion of the body and the back. Breathing is of course, another important factor.

Rowing movements

Rowing movements in Pilates include ‘Hug a Tree’, ‘Salute’, ‘Modified Front Rowing’, ‘Front Rowing’, ‘Round Back’ and ‘Flat Back Hinge’. Executing such exercises would really help maximize and attain the intended overall effects to the body of Pilates.

If you would take time to get to know Pilates and its benefits better, you would surely understand and be able to attain the advantages of doing the exercise system on a regular basis. This will ultimately lead to better health.

 

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Benefits of Attending Regular Pilates Classes

They say doing physical exercises regularly is good for the health. However, you might find strenuous physical fitness programs as very tiring and exhilarating. If you want to take it slowly, surely, and relaxing, you should instead attend regular Pilates classes.

For sure, the gym or the fitness center nearest your address is offering regular Pilates sessions. Sign up now and have the following benefits that are reaped by people who regularly do Pilates exercises. Here are the top benefits of attending regular Pilates sessions.

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Increased stamina and strength

Pilates is working primarily on the core muscles of the body. The movements strategically target muscles in the stomach, the back, and the pelvic region. In the process, performing Pilates exercise movements not only helps correct body posture; it also increases overall stamina and strength of the body. What is more liked by many people is that as Pilates increases stamina and strength, it does not add to any bulk. It is most preferred by people who aim to get leaner.

Prevention of injuries and speeds up recovery

Because of Pilates’ low-impact nature, medical practitioners and doctors recommend attending Pilates classes especially to patients who are on the way to recovery from back injuries. Whiplash and many other forms of sports-related problems and injuries could be prevented and cured as Pilates movements strengthen core muscles so that the body would gain a more correct body posture. This is the reason why many fitness and sports icons love Pilates, including sports superstar David Beckham.

Improved body balance and coordination

Attending regular Pilates classes could help you improve your body balance and physical coordination. This is because the exercise routines in the program have been designed to realign the spine and at the same time strengthen the core muscles. In this way, the body is reinforced and any form of injury is effectively prevented.

Relaxation and decreased stress levels

In its own way, Pilates could help anyone understand his or her own body as well as how it functions. This understanding would make it much easier for you to strategically fight the stress and release the tension coming from modern living. Many regular Pilates participants could attest that attending the sessions really help them overcome the stress and tension so they could attain overall and much-needed relaxation after a long day at work.

Gain of more benefits painlessly

You surely have been told that there would be no gain if there would be no pain in attaining a good physique and better health. It is not necessarily applicable if you are regularly attending Pilates classes. That is because the exercise program is low-impact and is a gentle form of exercise program that includes ample stretching without applying stress on joints and muscles.

Overall, you need to regularly attend Pilates sessions or classes. To further encourage you to do Pilates on a regular basis, it would be advisable if you would sign up in lively and large sessions. You could go to the same class attended by your peers, colleagues, or officemates.

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Pilates for Weight Loss

These days, weight loss is a major issue that almost everyone is concerned about. That is because the sedentary lifestyle is catching up and making obesity part of modern living. Unfortunately, beauty and sexiness are often linked with having a fit and slim physique. Thus, weight loss is considered as very important for a person’s overall appearance and confidence. Liposuction is very popular these days as a form of instant and effective weight loss. But for people who do not like the idea of undergoing surgical procedures, Pilates could be a good surgery-free alternative.

Pilates is a form of an exercise program that was developed by a physical fitness guru named Joseph Pilates during the height of the World War I. It is an exercise program that was developed to focus on flexibility and core strength. Specifically, the exercise program could bring about more ideal muscle tone that in turn could lead to a ‘taller and streamlined’ appearance. The tasks involved in the exercise could help you engage your core muscles (comprising of abdominal) and inner back muscles (especially those in the mid-back and lower back section). Thus, it could help you improve your overall posture, keep your back stronger, and attain a better posture.

weight loss

What people usually like about Pilates is that it does not require too much. The tasks could be done right at the comfort of your very own home. You may use a half-inch thick mat or just the floor. The exercise routines could take just several minutes to complete. You do not need any special equipment or tools. This is because the program is much focused on overall and targeted body movements. You could learn Pilates in many ways: through instructional videos and manuals or through guidance from experts or class facilitators.

Pilates is an exercise that is designed strategically for both men and women from all ages. The benefits are derived from the basic movements. When you do a Pilates movement, you are subjecting your body to a range of motions. There is no need to force the body to go further beyond what it could comfortably handle. The movements may be slow but they are more effective in burning stored calories. Proper and recommended pattern of breathing also helps make the exercise tasks more effective and relaxing. Overall stance is improved as well.

Not only does Pilates tone abdominal muscles. It is also effective in reducing back pains and lowering the chances for development of osteoporosis, especially in aging women. Combined with several other forms of cardiovascular exercises, Pilates could do a great wonder in losing those unlikely excess pounds at the shortest time possible. If you are aiming to lose those flabs that make your tummy area look awkward, you should strive to do Pilates exercise routines regularly. Pilates could also be considered as a mind and body exercise due to its highly targeted resistance in every movement. The exercise program is recommended for everybody, especially athletes, dancers, and obese people.

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The Six Principles of Pilates

Pilates has always been noted as among the trendiest and most effective exercise programs around. It is currently one of the most popular fitness programs not just in the United States but in many countries across all continents. Among the best selling points of Pilates is that it works very well for a great range of people. It is popular among dancers, athletes, women, seniors, and even expecting moms. What makes the program effective?

There are six main principles that serve as important components or factors in a good Pilates workout. The method has always highlighted quality instead of quantity. Thus, unlike most other exercise systems, Pilates does not require numerous repetitions for every movement. Here are the six Pilates principles so you could better understand the philosophical foundations of the program.

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Centering

In general, Pilates physically brings the focus of the entire exercise to the body’s center, which is considered as the powerhouse area. It is located in between the pubic bone and the lower ribs. Thus, you may notice that the exercise movements are energetically and strategically sourced from that center. This makes the program effective in focusing at the core.

Concentration

Unlike other exercise programs, Pilates methods require your full attention. The movements are not repetitive. You have to focus to be able to go on with the flow. Experts assert that if you would bring your full attention to Pilates movements and do them with your full commitment, you surely would attain maximum value and benefits from doing the program. Pilates could also serve as a practical test on how well you could control and target your focus.

Control

You would notice that every movement in Pilates should be done using complete muscular control. The methods are strategically developed to make sure no part of the body is left uncontrolled and missed out. To be able to attain the benefits, you have to learn how to control your movements and the pacing of the routines. It is like observing proper and correct form when exercising.

Precision

Awareness is effectively sustained throughout every movement in Pilates. Take note that there is an appropriate alignment in relation to body parts, placement, and overall trajectory for every muscle. The key to doing the methods in Pilates is in precision. Every movement should be performed correctly.

Breath

Joseph Pilates, the physical trainer who developed Pilates methods, emphasized the use of full breath when carrying out his exercise routines. He advised people to think of the lungs as bellows, which should be used strongly enough to pump air in and out (fully) of the body. Thus, you would notice that most Pilates movements are coordinating with the breath. Remember that breathing properly is a very integral part of Pilates.

Flow

Do the Pilates exercise program in a seemingly flowing manner. There should be grace, fluidity, and ease when doing every movement. If you do so, you would feel that the energy of the exercise is connecting with all the parts of the body and is flowing throughout the body in a very even way.

 

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Brief Look at Pilates Movements

It is just logical that Pilates is currently one of the most popular exercise programs. More and more people are getting into it because of the health and physical benefits it provides. Other than that, peer influence is also one important factor that helps make the popularity of the exercise program further rise.

Pilates involves a great deal of physical discipline. A person needs to be properly motivated to be able to conduct the tasks involved. The activity is also very relaxing. Many people assert that Pilates helps them achieve overall relaxation after a long day of work. Through proper breathing techniques along with required body movements in the exercise, people could achieve physical coordination, strength training, and relaxation at the same time.

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Indeed, Pilates helps people not just achieve physical goals. The exercise also helps them improve body balance and overall posture. Specifically, Pilates is aimed at helping people develop balance between aligning spine and proper breathing (inhalation and exhalation). Let us look at the basic movements when doing the exercise routines in Pilates.

The footwork

More emphasis is given to footwork in Pilates. That is because muscles in the legs and in the lower part of the body are the main focus and source of strength in the exercise. Surely, you would be moving your body muscles but control and balance is dictated by the biggest muscle group, which consists of the foot and lower body muscle group.

You could choose to do a variety of Pilates footwork tasks. You could take in combo or single exercises. The combo exercises are naturally consisting of a set of leg exercises infused and integrated into a Pilates exercise. Example of which is the ballet combo, which is an integration of a number of ballet movements specially modified for Pilates. There is also the sleeper style of exercises for Pilates.

Lying positions

Other than the footwork, you should also be aware of the different supine or lying positions when doing the exercise. Such exercises really help the body achieve total relaxation. Take note that while the body is in the relaxed state during supine positions, movements still are burning calories to achieve benefits similar to those from regular exercises.

Supine positions could be strategic if you would observe proper form. This is why you should be guided by a professional. Attending a regular Pilates class is one way to learn effective and proper lying positions in the program.

Rowing movements

If you are observing Pilates exercises, you must have noticed that there are tasks that resemble movements in rowing. Such movements are also recommended and are required in every Pilates session because they facilitate proper coordination between breathing and different muscle groups all across the body.

Overall, you would notice that Pilates exercise routines involve a combination of footwork, supine positions, and rowing movements all rolled into one. It could be the main reason why Pilates is very effective in extracting sweat from your body, which in turn helps burn up stored body calories.

 

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History of Pilates

If you aim to understand the power Pilates has in strengthening your body, it would be appropriate to take a short glimpse at the history of the exercise program. You may have the impression that Pilates is like Yoga, which has been developed thousands of years ago. Be informed that Pilates was only developed in the 1920s, during the height of the World War I.

It was 1880 when a sickly baby was born in Dusseldorf, Germany. The boy was named Joseph Pilates. As a very young child, Joseph was contended in watching his friends jump, run, and play games. He was not able to do the same because his weak body was frail. That was when the methods of Pilates were conceived by the young Joseph.

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Joseph was very determined to find ways to improve his physical strength, stamina, and overall health. He then set a lifelong quest for an appropriate fitness program and exercise. Joseph not only succeeded in overcoming his physical frailties. Eventually, he mastered them all. As he aged, Joseph stood to become an accomplished gymnast, boxer, skier, and yogi.

During the World War I, Joseph took an internship in England. There he worked as a male nurse, treating and attending to injured victims of the war. He was very convinced in his own belief that specific exercises could effectively help in the rehabilitation of badly damaged bodies. Most of the patients he handled were not really able to move. Joseph’s determination to help patients gain mobility and strength was undeterred.

He then rigged up hospital beds of war patients with springs and straps. At the same time, Joseph created several series of strategic exercises that aim to help move patients’ joints through great ranges of motion. Such exercises aimed to also help patients develop flexibility, endurance, and muscle strength. Surprisingly, most of Joseph’s patients were eventually able to finally get up and then move around on their own.

Joseph, together with his wife, moved to New York City in 1923. There, the couple opened a fitness studio that aimed to provide rehabilitation to injured dancers. Several famous dancers that became clients of the studio were Martha Graham and George Balanchine. Since then, word about the Pilates method spread like wildfire.

Soon the renowned Pilates method became an exercise of choice not just by many dancers but also by many professional athletes and entertainment icons. For many decades, Pilates was enjoyed exclusively by the elite community. It was a form of an exercise program that was enjoyed only by the rich and the famous.

However, in the past decade, Pilates found its way to reach more people. Many membership gyms and fitness clubs have started offering Pilates classes and sessions. Many people have since then discovered for themselves how Pilates could truly help them effectively gain flexibility, strength and body balance. Most of them have been awed by the fact that they need not spend more time at the gym just to attain desired results. Not surprisingly, Pilates emerged to become among the hottest trends in fitness and health.

 

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Why Muscles Get Sore

As people age, they begin to complain more of pains in their muscles and joints. They seem to stiffen up with age, and such commonplace activities as bending over for the morning paper can make them wince.

Such pain can grip so fiercely that they are sure it begins deep in their bones. But the real cause of stiffness and soreness lies not in the joints or bones, according to research at the Johns Hopkins Medical School, but in the muscles and connective tissues that move the joints.

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The frictional resistance generated by the two rubbing surfaces of bones in the joints is negligible, even in joints damaged by arthritis.

Flexibility is the medical term used to describe the range of a joint’s motion from full movement in one direction to full movement in the other. The greater the range of movement, the more flexible the joint.

If you bend forward at the hips and touch your toes with your fingertips, you have good flexibility, or range of motion of the hip joints. But can you bend over easily with a minimal expenditure of energy and force? The exertion required to flex a joint is just as important as its range of possible motion.

Different factors limit the flexibility and ease of movement in different joints and muscles. In the elbow and knee, the bony structure itself sets a definite limit. In other joints, such as the ankle, hip, and back, the soft tissue—muscle and connective tissue—limit the motion range.

The problem of inflexible joints and muscles is similar to the difficulty of opening and closing a gate because of a rarely used and rusty hinge that has become balky.

Hence, if people do not regularly move their muscles and joints through their full ranges of motion, they lose some of their potential. That is why when these people will try to move a joint after a long period of inactivity, they feel pain, and that discourages further use

What happens next is that the muscles become shortened with prolonged disuse and produces spasms and cramps that can be irritating and extremely painful. The immobilization of muscles, as researchers have demonstrated with laboratory animals, brings about biochemical changes in the tissue.

However, other factors trigger sore muscles. Here are some of them:

1. Too much exercise

Have you always believed on the saying, “No pain, no gain?” If you do, then, it is not so surprising if you have already experienced sore muscles.

The problem with most people is that they exercise too much thinking that it is the fastest and the surest way to lose weight. Until they ache, they tend to ignore their muscles and connective tissue, even though they are what quite literally holds the body together.

2. Aging and inactivity

Connective tissue binds muscle to bone by tendons, binds bone to bone by ligaments, and covers and unites muscles with sheaths called fasciae. With age, the tendons, ligaments, and fasciae become less extensible. The tendons, with their densely packed fibers, are the most difficult to stretch. The easiest are the fasciae. But if they are not stretched to improve joint mobility, the fasciae shorten, placing undue pressure on the nerve pathways in the muscle fasciae. Many aches and pains are the result of nerve impulses traveling along these pressured pathways.

3. Immobility

Sore muscles or muscle pain can be excruciating, owing to the body’s reaction to a cramp or ache. In this reaction, called the splinting reflex, the body automatically immobilizes a sore muscle by making it contract. Thus, a sore muscle can set off a vicious cycle pain.

First, an unused muscle becomes sore from exercise or being held in an unusual position. The body then responds with the splinting reflex, shortening the connective tissue around the muscle. This cause more pain, and eventually the whole area is aching. One of the most common sites for this problem is the lower back.

4. Spasm theory

In the physiology laboratory at the University of Southern California, some people have set out to learn more about this cycle of pain.

Using some device, they measured electrical activity in the muscles. The researchers knew that normal, well-relaxed muscles produce no electrical activity, whereas, muscles that are not fully relaxed show considerable activity.

In one experiment, the researchers measured these electrical signals in the muscles of persons with athletic injuries, first with the muscle immobilized, and then, after the muscle had been stretched.

In almost every case, exercises that stretched or lengthened the muscle diminished electrical activity and relieved pain, either totally or partially.

These experiments led to the “spasm theory,” an explanation of the development and persistence of muscle pain in the absence of any obvious cause, such as traumatic injury.

According to this theory, a muscle that is overworked or used in a strange position becomes fatigued and as a result, sore muscles.

Hence, it is extremely important to know the limitations and capacity of the muscles in order to avoid sore muscles. This goes to show that there is no truth in the saying, “No pain, no gain.” What matters most is on how people stay fit by exercising regularly at a normal range than once rarely but on a rigid routine.

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