Muscle tightness is a common issue among adults — both those who exercise regularly and those who don’t. Hydrating properly can help prevent muscle tightness and is essential for proper bodily functions. Depending on the cause of the muscle tightness, there are several ways to prevent or lessen its severity. If your symptoms persist or are severe, however, consult a doctor for an assessment.
Causes of Muscle Tightness
Prolonged inactivity can cause some muscles to tighten and restrict certain movements. For example, people who work at a desk job and are in a seated position all day can develop muscle imbalances resulting in tight muscles, according to the American Council on Exercise. During exercise, muscles can tighten due to cramps. Cramps can be very painful and are the result of factors such as dehydration, muscle fatigue, low potassium and low sodium. Muscles also tighten following a workout. This is usually described as delayed onset muscle soreness. The tightness and soreness felt after exercise is the result of small ruptures within the muscle.
Benefits of Hydration
Keeping your body hydrated is not only important for your muscles, but it’s essential for your vital organs. Approximately 60 percent of your body’s weight is water, according to MayoClinic.com. Keeping yourself hydrated helps to flush out toxins, carry nutrients to your body’s cells and provide a moist, balanced environment for the nose, throat and ear tissues. Dehydration can occur when a person does not have enough water in her body in order to carry out normal functions.
Preventing Tight Muscles
Many factors beyond hydration can prevent tight muscles. Starting or continuing an exercise program can help with sore muscles that occur because of long periods of inactivity. Engaging in proper exercise intensity for your fitness level is essential, along with static stretching after the cool-down period of your routine. (Always consult a doctor, though, before starting any exercise regimen.) The American Council on Exercise recommends static stretching as a remedy for tight muscles. In addition, fueling your body with good nutrition can also help to prevent muscle tightness. Steve Hoyles, a fitness professional and owner of Hoyles Fitness, recommends taking fish oil and eating quality protein and lots of vegetables to give your muscles the nutrients it needs.
How much water you need to stay hydrated can depend on the person and the climate they live in. A healthy adult male who lives in a temperate climate should consume approximately 3 liters a day (2.2 liters for females). This consumption of fluid does not need to be only water. You can replenish the water your body loses by consuming beverages that contain water, such as juice and milk, or even foods that contain water, like vegetables and fruits.