Whether you consider yourself an athlete in the prime of your life or your idea of movement is having to get up when the television remote is broken, you can benefit from stretch therapy. Even if you have no intentions of doing anything remotely athletic, regular stretching helps you feel better by allowing your joints and muscles to move more effectively throughout the day.
Consistent stretching can provide important health benefits no matter what your goals are. Here are just a few:
- Improves range of motion: Simply put, stretching makes it easier to keep moving by lubricating joints and enhancing and maintaining range of motion. It improves tissue oxygenation, increases blood flow, provides your muscles with nutrients, and helps to remove metabolic waste.
- Decreases the risk of injury: Warming up your muscles before exercise and keeping them active is just sound advice. A body part that is used to movement is far less prone to injury than one that is not.
- Improves your performance as an athlete: Dynamic stretching helps to elevate blood flow, improve heart rate, and prepares one’s muscles for activity.
- Reduces pain and stiffness: Stiffness can set in when you don’t use muscles often enough, while pain can result from using them the wrong way. Stretching gives you better posture and improves blood flow through connective tissues that may be knotted up and causing pain.
- Decreases recovery time: Gentle stretching after exercise helps your muscles recover faster than just stopping the activity abruptly. It also pushes your muscles to heal themselves after an injury.
Stretching Shouldn’t Be Your Initial Warm-up if You’re Inactive
Improperly stretching can potentially have a negative effect on your body. People often start a warm-up by static stretching, not realizing that they could damage stiff muscles in the process. If you’ve been inactive for a while, make sure to ease into it and get your blood flowing before pushing your muscles to the max.
Goals for Stretching
When you are ready to start stretch therapy, try to focus your attention on one major muscle group at a time. Although it may initially feel uncomfortable, the goal is for it to be safe, effective, and injury free. As you stretch, pay attention to how each of your muscles feel. Don’t forget to stretch on both sides of your body for maximum benefit.
It’s as important to stretch the muscles that you don’t use just as often as the ones that see more use. You will want to try to avoid bouncing as you stretch since this can cause muscle tightness and injury. I’m guessing injury is not want you had in mind when you started stretching in the first place. Half a minute should be long enough to hold your stretch if you’re just touching up frequently-used muscles and joints while one minute is better for those that don’t see much action.
Remember that pain is not the name of the game. It’s normal to feel some tension in the areas you stretch, but it should never hurt. If it does, ease off a little and focus on relaxing the muscles at hand. If it still hurts, stop for now and try to approach it a different day.
Take Your Stretch Therapy to a New Level
Maybe stretching at home isn’t your thing or you need help from a Stretchologist, like those at Stretch 22, to achieve a deeper stretch than you can do on your own. Stretch 22’s Stretchologists will guide you in a series of assisted, active stretches paired with vibration to help expand your muscles and release stubborn, local fascial tightness. This will allow you to achieve maximum performance in life.
Stretch 22 offers several membership levels. Please contact us today at 206-441-4143 to learn more about which one might be right for you.