- Do you ever suffer from muscle pains or stiffness?
- Do you exercise regularly / rarely / not at all?
- Is your work too light / too heavy / monotonous / one-sided?
Stretching will enable your body to perform better at day-to-day activities because the muscles are tough, strong and supple for everyday ease of function. By incorporating stretching as a part of your daily routine, you will start feeling better in your body and feel more flexible in your daily movement.
There are many reasons why muscles contract and get shorter, stiff and tight. Some common reasons include:
- Heavy work
- Hard physical training
- Poor co-ordination of movement
- Poor posture
- Lack of activity
- Injury and pain
- Monotonous and/or one sided movement
Benefits of Stretching
As we age, our muscles naturally become shorter and tighter, limiting our overall flexibility. This limitation in movement can create pain, and make you more susceptible to injuries. Did you know regular stretching can:
- Maintain or improve flexibility. Increased flexibility aids your capacity for physical movement, and improves your physical abilities.
- Increased range of motion in joints. This can aid muscular balance as well as freer movement and can protect from musculoskeletal injury.
- Improve circulation. Stretching increases blood flow to the muscles.
- Reduce stress. Stretching can clear stress-related tension from the muscles, and help you to relax and unwind.
- Alleviate muscular pain including lower back pain and neck pain. Sometimes the pain we experience in our body is due to over-tight muscles, or over-taut muscles, that are essentially taking too much load due to postural or other imbalances in the body. Stretching can reduce muscular tension, allowing the muscles to go back to a relaxed state.
- Decrease risk of injury. Flexible muscles with increased range of movement can decrease the risk of injury as the tendons and ligaments have more give and are better conditioned and have more elasticity.
- Improved posture. Muscular balance is required for good posture. Many postural imbalances are the result of muscular tightness! Regular stretching can improve muscle length and condition, as well as elasticity and range of motion.
- Improved athletic performance. If you are regularly active, and/or compete in sport, no doubt you are familiar with the idea of stretching. Regular stretching can assist in conditioning the muscles, enhance your recovery, as well as improve your overall technique and movement. Also, increased muscle length, elasticity, endurance, metabolism can all be experienced with regular stretching.
What stretches should I do?
Your Myotherapist can help you know which are the best stretches for your body. Depending on your imbalances, specific muscle stretches may be required.
When you come in for a session at inner outer health, we will be able to tailor a stretching program for you that is practical and functional, to be incorporated into your daily lifestyle. We may end up giving you one or several stretches specific to your problem/area of pain.
Here are a couple of common areas that we suggest stretching daily:
Chest Stretch (pecs):