An Introduction to toning your body

Even if you are only looking to improve your physical appearance with a toned body, exercising regularly can give you a host of other benefits including better cardio-respiratory fitness and strength.

The importance of toned muscles

Changes in lifestyle over recent decades have led people to adopt a sedentary lifestyle. More people spend most of the day doing activities that don’t use the muscles much and burn off only minimal calories.

Even if you only want to get a toned body, exercising regularly can give you a host of benefits. Already, after a few weeks you’ll be able to notice significant changes, such as improvement in cardio-respiratory fitness and strength.

If you have well-trained muscles you’ll be able to react promptly and effectively when you lose balance. Plus, toned muscles are important in supporting and protecting joints from excessive movements and biomechanical loads. A joint supported by strong, toned muscles, will experience less injuries than one supported by weak muscles.

Muscles need to be stimulated

Not using muscles enough is bad for you: The muscle system needs to be stimulated systematically in order to be kept healthy and efficient. To stimulate muscles, you need to force them to overcome 'external resistance forces', whether these are the weight of your body or external loads such as dumbbells and barbells.

The benefits range from the improvement of the most important metabolic functions to increased overall functionality. And training muscles helps change the appearance of your body, which becomes more toned.

What a toned muscle is like

Muscle tone is the result of a sophisticated mechanism that allows a continuous exchange of information between the central nervous system and muscles.

The tone is nothing more than the feeling of muscle firmness when you touch it. The neurological hypertonic response of a workout increases the stimuli from the brain to the muscles – so a trained muscle maintains a basal tone better than an untrained muscle. Skin is important - it covers the muscle and under the skin there is a thick layer called the hypodermis. It is a tissue that contains fat, and it plays an important role in protecting against the dispersion of heat. A thick layer of hypodermis that is not firm as the muscle does not let you feel the tone of a muscle.

A firm, muscular gluteus, typical of professional dancers, is defined 'very tonic'. In almost all dynamic sports, the body of athletes is very tonic, even in the Sumo wrestlers; although their muscles are covered by a thick layer of fat.

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