Fitness beyond the “Glamour Muscles”

December 17, 2014

“For every two minutes of glamour, there are eight hours of hard work”  Jessica Savitch

I heard the term “Glamour Muscles” for the first time the other day.   (guess I don’t hang out in gyms enough – ironic huh?)

Glamour muscles are the ones people like to “show off” – the superficial abdominal muscles that make the “six pack” abs (the Rectus Abdominals), the biceps, the pectorals (chest), etc.

In this busy holiday prep week it is a great time to work the hidden but essential muscles. It does not take much time but has a big pay off. Ready for your workout:

Feet – take off your shoes and let all the joints in your feet spread out. Take a tennis ball and place it on the bottom of your foot while sittingthCABS2ECL or standing. Roll the ball under your foot. If you have ever seen a picture of the bones in your foot you can see the complexity of the anatomy of the foot.  Giving the feet some freedom without shoes and sox and spreading out the joints over a ball loosens those little joints and muscles in the foot. Spread out your toes, gently stretch the top of the foot, the bottom of the foot, the sides. Ahh…

The human foot and ankle is a strong and complex mechanical structure containing exactly 26 bones, 33 joints (20 of which are actively articulated), and more than a hundred muscles, tendons, and ligaments.” Wikipedia

Belly – When we are carrying extra weight many times we keep this area in our “blind spot” and would rather not think about it. However, holding stress in this area can create internal tension that affects organs and digestion as well as muscles of the hip and back. So, relax your belly all the way. Take some relaxing full breaths. Consciously let go of any tension there.  Imagine relaxing all of your organs in this area too. (more in a future blog on using the core in a functional way – for now let’s practice relaxing it)

Hands – Free your hands and wrists from the keyboard, driving, phone holding and texting position. The many joints in the hands need some movement just like the feet.  So, spread your fingers wide, make a gentle fist, move your thumbs in different motions. Move your wrists in circles in both directions.  If you have more time, check out this hand yoga video. thCA3UMP6S

Jaw – Notice how you are holding your jaw – another storage place for tension. These muscles of the jaw can get overworked and cause jaw pain and headaches. So simply let your lower jaw release and move away from your upper jaw. Consciously let go of tension there several times a day.

thCAJNN6N8Eyes – The muscles of the eyes can get “lazy” from only focusing up close. Go to a window or better yet get outside and look as far away as you can. Look in all direction with your eyes. Close your eyes and relax your eyelids, around your eyes, and the back of your eyes.  

All these muscles and joints need a “workout” and rest too –  possibly more than the glamour muscles because of the constant unconsciouis wear and tear they can receive all day long. Fitness is not only for the gym. True fitness is about taking care of the whole body – not just the “glamorous” parts!

Have a great week!

Keep Moving, Be Well,


Janet Huehls, MA, RCEP, CYT, CWC
Registered Clinical Exercise Physiologist, Certified Wellness Coach
UMass Memorial Weight Center

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by | December 17, 2014 · 8:44 pm

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