Love your stretches
Stretching can help to improve flexibility and range of motion of the muscles and joints. Better flexibility may result in performance improvements and reduce injury.
Many lifestyle factors affect our muscle length including posture, prolonged sitting and weight training.
Because stretching effects your joints and connective tissue, as well as the muscle, caution needs to be taken when starting a stretching program. Consider chronic conditions or injuries which may prevent pain-free stretching (and may actually be causing more harm).
Give us a call on 02 8544 84 84 if you have further questions, or contact your medical practitioner for advice.
Know your stretches
Static stretching is when a muscle is held in a lengthened position for a prolonged period of time, research shows how long you hold a stretch changes for different muscle groups, but aim for 60 seconds.
Dynamic stretching is done using movement at the end of range of a muscle. It is used mainly by power athletes and should only be done under appropriate guidance due to its potential to cause injury.
Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) is not only a mouthful, it is a series of static stretches progressing in strength.
Static stretching works, but it takes 4 to 6 weeks to see a length change in the muscle. You need to be committed too!
To make a muscle longer you need to stretch regularly (4-6 times a day!).
Reduce injury risk
Patients are often shocked when I tell them that the research has concluded that static stretching before exercise does not prevent injury, and can actually poorly affect performance!
Prevention comes from a sufficient warm up, stretching after exercise may reduce muscle soreness and should always been done on a warm muscle. Consider using heat, ice and massage as well.
Love your technique
Proper alignment and posture of your body is important for stability and comfort as you stretch. Longer, gentler stretches may be more effective in improving length without causing damage. Stretching should be comfortable and feel good!
Holding a stretch depends on your goal and muscle group, generally for adults we should aim for 60 seconds of comfortable stretching. While holding don’t forget to breathe!
Progress your stretching, be it your range, the length of hold, repetitions or functionality.
For example if soccer is your sport, consider stretches specific to this with movement involved. Begin slowly, focusing on technique and build the speed of movement as you are able.
Hope this helps improve your strength and flexibility.
And if you want to read more about stretching you can check out Is stretching all that it’s cracked up to be?
Love your life.