If your answer is never or rarely then you should consider adding a good stretching session to your routine at least two to three times a week.

Flexibility is the ability to move a joint through its complete range of motion. Our flexibility can be influenced by genetics, body composition, age, activity level, previous injuries or existing medical conditions.

As we get older, we start to lose flexibility which will eventually lead to a reduced range of motion. Limited flexibility can be a result of muscle imbalances or alterations in the length of muscles that surround a joint.

Muscle imbalances are very common in today’s world and are commonly caused by poor posture and repetitive movements. Overtime, this can lead to dysfunction and can cause injury to occur. 

Including a few stretching sessions in your normal routine can be very beneficial and can help to:

  • Improve Posture
  • Increase Flexibility and Range of Motion
  • Decrease Risk of Injury
  • Improve Performance in Physical Activity
  • Help you to Relax

Before you jump right in……here are a few things to remember.

Warm muscles up before stretching:

  • Stretching cold muscles is like stretching a cold rubber band. A cold rubber band is stiff and can pop. Warm your muscles up by taking a brief walk before.If you are at home try walking in place to warm up your muscles before stretching.

Focus on major muscle groups:

  • Be sure to stretch the calves, thighs, hips, lower back, neck and shoulders.

Stretch Bilaterally:

  • We are symmetrical beings, so be sure to stretch each side of your body equally to help prevent muscle imbalances.

Breathe and Hold Stretch for 15-60 Seconds:

  • Inhale through your nose and exhale through the mouth. Breathing while stretching helps to retrain your body’s stretch reflex which is designed to protect your muscles from being stretched past its normal limit. Breathing also helps to deliver oxygenated blood and nutrients to your muscles.

Don’t Bounce:

  • Be sure to hold a nice smooth stretch, bouncing can cause injury to a muscle such as a strain.

Don’t overstretch:

  • While stretching you should feel mild tension, if you feel pain then you should pull back. As you continue to stretch, your body will eventually become more flexible so no need to force it too soon.

As always, be sure to use your best judgment when incorporating stretching into your routine. If you already have an injury be sure to speak with your primary care provider before trying new stretching techniques. 

As a reminder, stretching will not totally prevent injury from occurring but it can potentially reduce the risk.

Happy Stretching!!

Find Health in Every Day,

Dr. Lindsay

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