Poor muscle tone can come about as the result of an underlying disorder, but more often is simply the result of lack of exercise and muscle training. In fact, in most cases, poor muscle tone is just a nicer way of saying your muscles are flabby.
There are many ways to treat poor muscle tone, as well as to prevent it from occurring. In those cases where poor muscle tone is the result of an underlying disease or disorder, it is more difficult to manage.
Causes of Poor Muscle Tone
In rare cases, poor muscle tone is due to a condition known as hypotonia. Hypotonia generally refers to infants who display developmental delays due to low muscle tone. The cause of hypotonia can be difficult to trace, but it can be related to genetic disorders like Down Syndrome or the result of muscular dystrophy or other issues such as traumatic injuries to the brain. In these cases, poor muscle tone is serious, and can greatly affect an infant's development.
The most common cause of poor muscle tone, however, is simply lack of use. If muscles aren't regularly exercised, they lose bulk, flexibility and, yes, tone. Aging can lead to decreased muscle tone, as well, both because of the body's natural aging process and because, as you get older, other problems such as arthritis can often cause you to exercise less.
Fortunately, this most common cause of decreased muscle tone is also the easiest to treat.
Ways to Improve Muscle Tone
Obviously, the best way to improve muscle tone is to exercise. However, certain kinds of exercises are better to help with muscle tone than others. This is especially true if you wish to improve tone, but don't wish to build bulk in your muscles.
Some great ways to improve muscle tone include:
- Weight training. Use lighter weights and more repetitions to produce great muscle tone without bulk.
- Resistance training. Exercise using resistance bands or light hand weights.
- Yoga and pilates. These are both excellent ways to improve muscle tone without increasing bulk.
Increasing your physical fitness overall will bring you stronger muscles with better tone and a sleeker, less flabby look. If you have any concerns about building too much bulky muscle, or about specific physical issues, consult with a physician or personal trainer before beginning your fitness program.
Advantages of Better Muscle Tone
Increasing your muscle tone and overall fitness has other great advantages, as well, beyond helping you look slimmer and fitter. It also helps support your bones and joints, and helps your body withstand wear and tear as you go about your daily routine. Many problems with the knees can be dramatically improved by doing exercises that improve muscle tone around this complex joint. This is also true for the shoulders and hips.
Increased muscle tone through the abdominals, diaphragm, and the body core help improve endurance, stamina and even balance. Walking, lifting, doing yard work, weeding the garden--any and all of these everyday activities become easier if you maintain healthy muscle tone. Your exercise program, then, does more than improve your muscles--it improves your quality of life.