Your fascia is just reason #999 to stay well hydrated.
What is Fascia?
Fascia is all the rage/buzzworthy right now, but what exactly is your fascia? Short disclaimer: I’m not a medical professional, fitness expert, or fascia expert. Fascia gives you shape. I know you think it’s your bones, but your fascia surrounds all your bones, your organs, your muscles. It’s actually what keeps you upright.
It’s made up of ground substance, and that ground substance has collegen fibers and blood vessels — and a whole lot more. Click herefor a really deep dive into fascia (it’s fascinating!). I also highly suggest watching the Fuzz lecture here.
Your fascia actually gives your body feedback on your the state of your muscles, and is important in proprieception (figuring out where you are in time and space).
Makes sense that taking care of our fascia is important, right?
Ground Substance is thirsty
Ground substance is 70% water. Many liken it to a sponge, as you can see in this post here:
When a sponge dries out it becomes brittle and hard. It can easily be broken with only a little force because of how crispy it has become. However, when a sponge is wet and well hydrated it gets springy and resilient. You can crush it into a little ball and it bounces back. You can wring it and twist it, but it is difficult to break.
Hydration is important to your fascia, and once you’re dehydrated, it begins to stiffen and stick to itself — and you feel knots and stiffness, too. You can’t completely hydrate your fascia by drinking more, but good hydration is a good first step to keep your fascia happy.
Fascia is also hydrated by movement (this is where foam rolling can come in), although not by repetitive movement — like running — which is why cross training is so important. Running can be good for your fascia — but only running, not so much.
Rest is important too (you know I’m always harping on that!). Tom Myers, an expert on fascia and author of Anatomy Trains (Amazon Affiliate link here), writes:
The fascia gets temporarily weaker and then comes back stronger after a heavy workout. Always alternate work-outs with periodic rest to allow for maximum integration and strengthening of the fascial network.
You can also check out his YouTube channel here.
Did you know what fascia is?
Are you more motivated to help your fascia stay happy?
What do you do when you feel stiff in the morning?
ICYMI: Feeling in need of a longer stretch after a run? When I shot my postrun stretch video for the 21 Day Yoga Challenge (sign up here), I went a little long on my first try. Like double the amount of time that short video should have been. When you have time to take more time stretching it out, try out my new Post Run Stretch Video here.