Toning Your Body - Introduction

Even if you are only looking to improve your physical appearance with a well-toned body, exercising regularly can provide a series of additional benefits as well, including better cardio-respiratory fitness and strength.

The importance of toned muscles

Over the past few decades, changes in lifestyle have led people to adopt a more sedentary routine. Many people spend their days doing activities that don’t engage the muscles much, and only burn a small number of calories.

Even if you just want a toned body, exercising regularly can provide a series of additional benefits as well. After just a few weeks, in fact, you’ll notice significant changes, such as an improvement in cardio-respiratory fitness and strength.

If you have well-trained muscles, you’ll be able to react more promptly and effectively when you lose your balance. What's more, toned muscles are important for supporting and protecting the joints against excessive movements and biomechanical loads. Joints supported by strong, toned muscles will suffer fewer injuries than those supported by weak muscles.

Muscles need to be stimulated

Not using your muscles enough is bad for you: The muscle system needs to be stimulated systematically in order to be kept healthy and efficient. To stimulate your 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 can range from the improvement of the most important metabolic functions, to increased overall functionality. What's more, training and toning your muscles helps improve your body's appearance.

Recognizing muscle tone

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

Tone is nothing more than the sensation of firmness you feel when you touch a muscle. Since the neurological hypertonic response of a workout increases the stimuli from the brain to the muscles, a trained muscle maintains a better basal tone than an untrained muscle. Skin is important - it covers the muscle, and under the skin there is a thick layer called the hypodermis. This is a tissue that contains fat, and it plays an important role in protecting against heat dispersion. A thick layer of hypodermis, which is not firm like the muscle, prevents you from feeling the muscle's tone.

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

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