As yet, there’s not enough evidence that nurturing your fascia can directly reduce your risk for cancer or disease. (If only things were that simple!) But the tissue can impact your energy, your 5-kay performance and perhaps even your stress levels. So why wouldn’t you want to give it some TLC? Here are a few habits to adopt now…
STRETCH EACH MORNING
Even a quick forward fold can help break up collagen in your fascia, allowing more oxygen to hit your muscles and setting you up for better movement all day long. To really reduce tension, hold stretches for five breaths or longer. (Afterwards, you should be able to deepen that stretch even more.) Or hit the mat. Yin yoga keeps you in poses about twice as long and advanced practitioners maintain their poses for up to five minutes! Researchers think static stretching may produce anti-inflammatories that help repair tissue.
READ MORE: The Beginners Guide To Foam Rolling Correctly
GIVE YOURSELF A MASSAGE
Trying to improve fascial health without hands-on techniques (the major one: foam rolling) is like trying to make a peanut butter sarmie without bread – it just doesn’t work. Relieving kinks on your own improves range of motion and slashes soreness. Why? Kneading soft tissue removes collagen build-up and raises body temperature, which amps blood flow to pump nutrients to the area and flush waste. Roll until you feel a release. Hate it? Perfect excuse to book a profesh massage.
Our bodies are made up mostly of water and much of that H2O is in our fascia. So if you’re underhydrated or dehydrated, the tissue will be dry and brittle, not wet and spongy. The consequence: compromised mobility. Even your skin can look dull when your fascia isn’t hydrated because the superficial fascia (the layer closest to the surface) gives skin its healthy tone. Down your eight glasses daily – plus a glass or two extra on days you’re exercising hard, to replace what you lose in sweat.
READ MORE: A Physio’s Guide To Foam Rolling The Right Way, Plus Which Type Of Roller To Use
EAT FRUIT AND VEGGIES
High levels of inflammation throughout the body infiltrate the fascial tissue, summoning pain. A clean diet that’s packed with fresh produce and healthy fats and light on processed food (a favourite one to follow is the Mediterranean- style diet) helps minimise the I-word. Adding a daily serving of collagen, in the form of powder or bone broth, might even boost the collagen profile in your fascia, strengthening the web.
Scientists recently discovered that fascial tissue stores more kinetic energy than any other type of tissue – in fact, it’s this spring-like material, not powerful muscles, that enables kangaroos to catapult as far as 13m. (Pretty cool, right?) Because of this relationship, experts think plyometrics (explosive jumps) makes your fascia more durable and resilient by increasing its density. While all the other tips here will improve your fascia, only this one will actually strengthen it. Three times a week, spend up to five minutes doing hopscotch over an agility ladder or do three sets of 10 to 20 jump squats.