The importance of stretching

Although stretching is an important component of exercise and fitness, it is often overlooked. It is performed not only by runners but also by individuals like us. Some people fail to stretch because they think it takes too much time.

The good news is, stretching only takes a few minutes and has a lot of benefits like:

  • Improved posture – It helps alleviate tightness in tense muscles and promotes a proper alignment of the spine.
  • More flexibility – It helps muscles get ready for activity by improving a person’s range of motion.
  • Increased circulation – A good stretch will increase the blood flow sent to muscles, which can lead to a faster healing process.
  • Improved coordination – Loosening your joints by stretching encourages smoother movements, contributing to a better sense of balance.
  • Decreased stress – Stress often leads to physical discomfort and stretching will help resolve these issues.

Stretching correctly is crucial to properly prepare for any activity. Muscles respond best to stretching when warmed up, so it’s a good idea to take a brisk walk first. All it takes to warm up the upper body are some simple arm movements.

For best results, hold stretches for at least 30 seconds. Avoid bouncing, irregular, jerky stretches. Start off slowly. DO NOT hold your breath. Remember, stretching should not be painful. If a movement causes pain, ease up on it or stop and consult your therapist.

Stretch Your Schedule To Include Flexibility!

Certain activities can cause discomfort without prior stretching, especially simple household tasks. If you have plans to tackle housework, take part in an aerobics class, or simply take a quick walk during your lunch break – your body will thank you later.

Failing to stretch before moving furniture can be particularly uncomfortable. When confronting a heavy sofa or stubborn television, stretching will assist in alleviating any pain that may result. Remember, “a few minutes of stretching before you play can save you a lifetime of pain.”

Physical Therapy As a Preventative Measure

Many people wait to visit a physical therapist until they are injured. Sometimes, it’s a little too late. Don’t let that happen. Trained therapists can teach you preventative measures as well. We can design a customized stretching program specific to your needs and demonstrate the right way to avoid injury.

A Word of Caution: Stretching should not hurt.

Sometimes a particular injury or condition makes it hard to stretch. In fact, stretching improperly, especially when injured, can do more harm than good.

If you are suffering from acute muscle strains, bone fractures, or sprains, avoid stretching. While the benefits of stretching usually outweigh the risks, these types of injuries need time to rest in order to heal properly. By trying to stretch an injured area, you could experience more pain and discomfort.

It is important to address issues before you begin an activity. Schedule an appointment with us TODAY and start reaping the rewards of preventive practice. By learning how to properly stretch, many activities will become easier, and tense/tight muscles will soon become a thing of the past. We can help you find the perfect set of stretches to keep injury away.

Additional Resources

Stretching: Focus on flexibility (Mayo Clinic)

The Importance of stretching (Harvard Health Publishing)