Ever watched kids running around like little gazelles and wondered where they got all that energy? Ever wished you could bottle it and sell it? Well I’m not sure about the bottling and selling part, but you can certainly reclaim some of this youthful spring by changing up your workout just slightly.
You see, when we’re young, our fascia – a white, tendonous tissue that wraps around your muscles and bones – has a lattice-like structure, like a chain link fence. All the tiny fibers in your fascia are crimped up, and they’re very springy. This is probably why we say little kids ‘bounce,’ because they literally do.
With age and inactivity, the fascial fibers become flaccid and lose their crimped structure, kind of like curly hair going limp. All the spring goes out of this tissue and you have to exert more muscular force to get the same kind of elastic rebound that kids have naturally.
Additionally, tight or restricted fascia (any area of your body that is ‘inflexible’ like hamstrings or quads) loses moisture, making it more like beef jerky than juicy, living tissue. We all know what happens when someone sits out in the sun for too many years; they get that leather look. Dehydrated fascia is pretty similar, except it’s on the inside of your body.
But the good news is, you can reclaim your youthful springiness with a few simple changes to your normal workouts.
When fascia is put under strain (i.e. when you’re running, jumping rope or lifting weights), the force squeezes fluid out of the fascia cells like water being wrung from a wet sponge. When you stop the activity, the tissue sucks up the water again, re-hydrating it and making it more youthful. Bouncing movements like jumping rope help to restore the crimped nature to flaccid fascial fibers.
Try this anti-aging workout to rejuvenate your fascia:
Choose a jump rope, trampoline or just jogging. Set a timer for three minutes and set to jumping rope, bouncing on the trampoline or running. Pay extra attention to the landing at the bottom; try to make as little noise as possible with your feet (harder to do on a trampoline but very important with the rope jumping and jogging). You should be moving fast enough to get yourself out of breath. If three minutes is too long or too short of a time, adjust accordingly.
Take a break of one to two minutes, walking constantly to keep the blood flowing in your body. After about a minute and a half, you should start to feel a little more energy and spring in your step. After a two minute break, repeat the above steps. Go through this cycle four to eight times.
The bouncing motion helps to engage the innate springiness of your fascia while the intense intervals interspersed with rest will encourage fascial rehydration.