Stretching

Quote: "A physical therapist does some unbelievable stretching with me." - Brian O'Driscoll

When you stretch on a regular basis there are many benefits of stretching for both your body and mind.  What we are going to cover here is the benefits of stretching, type of stretching to be performed, the best time to stretch and how to stretch.

Calf Muscle Stretch

Stretching improves your flexibility and range of motion, improves blood circulation to the body and joints, decreases stress, reduces lower back pain and improves posture.

Improving your flexibility and range of motion makes it easier to perform daily activities.  Increasing blood circulation to the joints helps the body to replenish itself with vital nutrients and helps the body to rid itself of waste products.  Stretching relaxes tense muscles and a stressed mind.

Stretching the pelvis, hips, glutes, hamstrings, lower back and thighs lessens the stress on your spine that causes lower back pain.  Focusing your stretching on your back, chest and shoulders helps to improve your posture and ability to breathe more efficiently.

Living in the modern world has led to people being more stressed out, having lower back pain and poor posture.  These problems can be managed by using a stretching program that addresses these issues.

Benefits of Stretching

When you stretch on a regular basis there are many benefits of stretching for both your body and mind.  What we are going to cover here is the benefits of stretching, type of stretching to be performed, the best time to stretch and how to stretch.

Stretching improves your flexibility and range of motion, improves blood circulation to the body and joints, decreases stress, reduces lower back pain and improves posture.

Improving your flexibility and range of motion makes it easier to perform daily activities.  Increasing blood circulation to the joints helps the body to replenish itself with vital nutrients and helps the body to rid itself of waste products.  Stretching relaxes tense muscles and a stressed mind.

Stretching the pelvis, hips, glutes, hamstrings, lower back and thighs lessens the stress on your spine that causes lower back pain.  Focusing your stretching on your back, chest and shoulders helps to improve your posture and ability to breathe more efficiently.

Living in the modern world has led to people being more stressed out, having lower back pain and poor posture.  These problems can be managed by using a stretching program that addresses these issues.

Types of Stretching

There are various types of stretching such as dynamic, static, PNF and passive stretching.  The type of stretching you will be using is passive stretching.   Passive stretching is where an external force such as your body is exerted on the limb causing the muscles to lengthen.

The Best Time to Stretch

If you train on a regular basis, then doing some passive stretching after a workout can be beneficial.  If it is a non-training day, then doing some passive stretching before you go to bed will be beneficial.

The muscles are already warm and are in an ideal state to be stretched.  It allows the body to transport vital nutrients such as fresh blood and oxygen and remove waste products allowing your body to recover at a faster rate.

Doing passive stretching also allows the mind to unwind and destress itself.  This allows you to relax and get a better quality sleep. When you get up next morning you will be fresh, ready and willing to tackle the day.

The best analogy for stretching is like charging your Ipod at the end of the day so that it has enough power for you to use the next day.  Passive stretching is like recharging the body and mind with energy so that it remains healthy.

Helpful Tips for Stretching

  • Breathe slowly and deeply in through the nose and out through the mouth.
  • Hold the stretch for 20 to 30 seconds.
  • Focus on the core and large muscle groups such as the thighs, shoulders, back, neck hips and lower back.
  • Look to feel some tension in your muscles, not pain.
  • Do not bounce in the stretch, this will lead to a muscle tear.
  • Make the stretches specific to your type of activity. For example if you play golf, emphasize stretching the hips, glutes, lower back, shoulders.
  • Make sure that you stretch on a regular basis.
  • If you are wanting to stretch the whole body, work from the ankles up to the neck or vie versa.
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