Strengthen connective tissue: what helps?
Strong, trained connective tissue is lubricated and elastic. This protects the body and allows it to perform at its peak
What is connective tissue?
Our connective tissue, also called fascia tissue, consists of an elastic material that runs through our entire body and surrounds our organs, tendons, ligaments and muscles. When in good condition, the connective tissue around the muscles has a wavy pattern. It’s precisely this wavy pattern that allows the fascia to be mobile while holding all the organs and muscles together.
Training for strong connective tissue
The key way of strengthening connective tissue is through exercise. The rule for healthy connective tissue is: any exercise is better than no exercise.
The best exercises for strong fascia are
Massage with a fascia ball or a fascia roller, or follow a fascia training programme that includes stretching and mobilisation exercises.
- Yoga or Pilates exercises: it's not for nothing that yoga is called the oldest form of fascia training in the world. It’s particularly beneficial because of its combination of stretching and strength exercises.
Swimming, hiking, dancing or biking – the most important thing is to move the body.
What are the benefits of strong connective tissue?
Strong, trained connective tissue is lubricated and elastic. This protects the body and allows the body to perform at its peak
Bouncing or stretching exercises designed for the whole body can help us break the pattern of the one-sided, tense or practically motionless postures we frequently adopt in our everyday life. This boosts circulation and reduces pain.
Reduce the risk of injury
Strengthening the connective tissue improves mobility. Especially when the body is subjected to unusual stresses – with a fall, for example – tissue that is elastic and stable prevents injuries. Since fascia contains several movement receptors, strong fascia can improve movement sequences and reduce the risk of injury.
Shorten regeneration time
More and more athletes swear by starting or finishing their training with a fascia roller. Rolling the fascia after doing sport shortens the body's regeneration time. A self-massage with a fascia ball or a fascia roller has a similar effect to lymphatic drainage: it expels liquid from the tissue. The assumption is that this causes the muscle tissue, skin and fascia to fill up like a sponge and become saturated with fluid and supplied with nutrients again. By boosting circulation, the muscles are more quickly prepared for the next training session or sporting competition.
Tone your body shape
Fascia training is also popular with fitness athletes. Even though the effect hasn’t been proven, many people swear that fascia training reduces cellulite and helps build firm skin.
Strengthen connective tissue through diet
Nutrition also has an influence on the connective tissue. Nutritionists give three important tips to strengthen the connective tissue:
- Reduce sugar, white flour, coffee and dairy products
- Eat more green vegetables, healthy oils such as omega-3 acids and fibre-rich foods
- Drink plenty of water
Do vitamins and creams help with weak connective tissue and cellulite?
Certain anti-cellulite creams and cellulite oils are said to create tighter skin. In addition, some manufacturers praise the effects of vitamin products, such as vitamin C and vitamin A, as well as certain amino acid capsules, such as L-carnitine and L-arginine. These manufacturers maintain that the products boost the production of collagen, said to help with cellulite and dimpled skin. However, the benefits and effects of these products are highly controversial.
Development of weak connective tissue
As the body ages, it produces less and less collagen. As a result, the elastic fibres in the connective tissue and in the skin lose their tension. To a certain extent, weak connective tissue is also inherited. Our lifestyle also has an effect on how strong or weak our connective tissue is. Factors such as insufficient exercise, excess weight, high stress levels, UV radiation, alcohol and smoking are possibly the most significant causes of flabby connective tissue.