Maintaining healthy connective tissue will keep our bones, ligaments, and tendons strong, and will also keep skin looking young and wrinkle-free. But, as we age and exercise, we expose ourselves to increased risk of connective tissue injury or degeneration. After reading this short article, you should have three strategies to improve and restore your connective tissues, which should reduce the risk of sustaining an injury and even improve your skin.
Support your collagen
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body, according to the Department of Biomedical Sciences at Florida State University, and makes up an estimated quarter of all the proteins in the human body. Collagen is the primary component of all connective tissues and bones. It holds our skin in place and is responsible for keeping almost all body tissues together. It is also one of the major building blocks of muscle, so whether you're looking to bulk out, look younger, or reduce risk of injury, you'll definitely want to support your collagen. Collagen can be bought as an over-the-counter supplement, though it should be noted that the body is perfectly capable of producing all the collagen that it needs. Another way to boost your collagen without supplements is to look for foods high in Vitamin C and hyaluronic acid, which both support the production of collagen. For foods high in hyaluronic acid, check out this great list from Healing Our Skin. These foods should also support healthy elastin (another protein that makes up an important part of connective tissues).
According to this meta-analysis of sixty-two studies from the American College of Sports Medicine, endurance training and high-intensity load-bearing lead to an increase in mass and strength in tendons, ligaments, and bones. It's also true that increased levels of activity prior to a connective tissue injury lead to quicker recovery times. The most important thing to take away from this meta-analysis is that, similar to our muscles, physical training can lead to stronger, healthier tendons, ligaments, and bones.
The body has the amazing ability to regenerate and restore itself when damaged, but most of this healing happens at night while we rest. As with so many other aspects of our health and training, it is extremely important to get enough rest each night. This last point might seem like the simplest, but without it, collagen production is stunted and repairs from physical training will occur much slower, so proper rest is arguably the most important factor in connective tissue health.
For a list of classes and programs for endurance training, weight training, and more, visit our class schedule. If you have any questions or are interested in membership, please feel free to contact us. We look forward to hearing from you!