Common Causes of Muscle Tension To Be Aware Of
Stiff or sore muscles aren’t uncommon conditions, but they can limit your movement and hinder daily activities if you’re not careful. Knowing how and why muscle tension occurs can help you avoid straining yourself or putting your body at risk. Protect yourself and improve your well-being by learning about a few common causes of muscle tension to be aware of.
Have you ever felt stiff after a workout? This form of muscle tension happens when you overwork your muscles. As you exercise, you contract your muscles; heavy workouts can cause tension to linger in your muscles, creating that stiff feeling.
Luckily, muscle tension from workouts usually fades after a short period of time. However, the risk of tension is why it’s crucial to exercise responsibly and incorporate warmups and cooldowns into your workout routine.
Just like overusing your muscles can cause problems, so can underusing them. Inactivity weakens muscles and joints over time. This leads to a decrease in strength and flexibility, making it harder to move without overworking your muscles and feeling stiff or sore.
Regular exercise can help prevent stiffness from inactive muscles. Additionally, try to incorporate more movement into your day. Even small things like standing up at your work desk, stretching regularly, and going on walks can help work your muscles and prevent tension.
Stress, Anxiety, and Other Mental Causes
Your mind is part of your body, so it makes sense that it can affect you physically. In fact, stress and anxiety are among the most common causes of muscle tension to be aware of. You probably know this as the fight or flight response—if you’re in a situation that stresses you out or makes you feel afraid, your body will tense up to prepare you to either fight the threat or run from it.
Stress—especially stress that stems from feelings of anxiety—can cause prolonged muscle tension. This can happen when you’re under a lot of pressure at work, dealing with big life changes, or facing other sources of anxiety. In these situations, the best way to relieve muscle tension is to address the stress that’s causing it. Overcoming anxiety and building better stress management skills allows you to react to stress in a healthier manner that doesn’t put excess strain on your body.