Whether it be at a friend’s house, the gym, or a lush hotel you once stayed in, everyone can recall taking a particularly amazing shower that put a spring in their step and made them walk a little taller – and then wish every morning that it was installed in their own home. But what exactly is it that makes it so good? The water pressure? The temperature? The size of the shower head?
It turns out that there’s real science behind that epic post-shower feeling that goes way beyond getting squeaky clean and it’s all to do with your hamstrings.
Hamstrings are the tendons that run behind your thighs and knees. They act like a huge elastic band that secures your muscles to your bones and connects your hips to your knees. Most commonly, hamstrings are discussed when an injury to one puts an athlete out of action, but no matter how active you are, absolutely everyone can benefit from looking after them.
Of all the muscle groups in the body, your hamstrings support your hips and knees, which bear the most weight and absorb the greatest impact as you carry out tasks as simple as sitting down, standing up and going for a walk. Looking after your hamstrings is important for your circulation and general fitness and paying attention to them, more than any other muscle group, will “give you the greatest overall return on your health."
Hamstrings need to be worked to keep them in optimal condition. If you are inactive for long periods of time, either by leading a sedentary lifestyle or during recovery from illness or injury, your hamstring muscles will shrink and over time, this shrinkage forces you to tilt your pelvis and stoop forward which puts pressure on your back and knees and damages your posture.
The best way to look after your hamstrings is by stretching, but you can maximise the benefits of a good stretch in your shower. Muscles that are cold are more prone to injury, which is why you’re encouraged to ‘warm up’ before doing any exercise or stretching. Standing under a hot shower and directing the heat onto your hamstrings has similar effects to a short aerobic workout but with far less exhaustion!
Once your muscles have warmed up, they will stretch more easily and much further too, and by working a good stretch into your daily shower routine, you will feel your flexibility and mobility improve but the benefits don’t end there. Looking after your hamstrings will improve your posture and simply walking a little taller could make you “feel more assertive and adventurous and less fearful” in a matter of weeks. What more excuse could you need for that extra five minutes in the shower?!
If your shower lacks oomph, the experienced team at The Shower Doctor can help you to increase your water pressure, boost your heat or install that fabulous new unit you’ve always wanted to have at home.