If you’ve ever gone to a physiotherapist, you’ll know how much they emphasize and prescribe stretching! Most manual therapy plans employed by physios will include at least some stretching during treatment.
However, you certainly don’t need to stretch only when you’re injured! Stretching has plenty of excellent benefits you can tap into right now if you make it a regular habit.
Below are the top four reasons to begin stretching regularly, with a couple of tips within to help build the habit over time. You’ll notice these benefits cross-over amongst each other, making it a particularly rewarding activity. Enjoy!
Let’s Get Flexible!
We figured we’d get the most obvious reason out of the way. Indeed, regular stretching will help improve your overall flexibility.
Improving your flexibility has many downstream benefits, some of which will be touched upon later in this article. The overall goal of flexibility is to improve your functional range of motion, which improves your posture and allows you to sit and stand up straight.
Flexibility is all about freedom of movement. Adding stretching to your routine will go a long way to helping you feel more confident in your daily life.
It’s important to understand that different stretching types lead to different benefits and should be utilized at different times. Be sure to understand the differences before adding in the stretching exercises most suitable for your situation.
Oh, Sweet Relief
As mentioned above, physiotherapists are proponents of stretching. The #1 reason someone goes in to see these professionals is due to some kind of pain.
Regular, targeted stretching releases muscle tension and can improve soreness in problem areas of your body. Sometimes, it’s not even necessary to stretch the most painful area of the muscle directly. In such cases, stretching areas surrounding the affected area will provide the most relief.
Our body is one big kinetic chain, making regular stretching a sound strategy for long-term, full-body pain relief.
Keep in mind that we recommend anybody in acute or chronic pain seek help with a comprehensive assessment before beginning a stretching routine specifically for pain. It’s best to get a professional opinion to ensure you’re embarking on the right pain management journey!
Better Blood Flow
Not only can stretching improve your flexibility and increase your chances of pain relief, but it’s also been shown to improve circulation!
This Harvard Health article points towards a 2020 study in The Journal Of Physiology that found performing simple leg stretches can help improve blood throughout the body. The researchers found that the arteries in the lower legs of the stretching group had better blood flow and less stiffness, along with lower blood pressure at the end of the study.
The above benefit may account for why stretching simply feels so good. Many of our patients report a general feeling of calmness and well-being upon finishing a stretching session.
For those with mobility issues and general circulation problems, stretching has the potential to be an absolute god-send!
For those readers partaking in athletic endeavours, there’s excellent news on the stretching front!
Remember when we mentioned that different kinds of stretching yield different effects on the body? This is important in this discussion. Overall, dynamic stretching is considered the best option for most athletes before beginning exercise. Dynamic stretches warm up your muscles and connective tissue, preparing them for the workout ahead!
Static and PNF stretching are typically recommended after exercise sessions to aid in muscle recovery and increase blood flow.
Pro Tip: To help build a consistent and sustainable stretching habit, start small! Start with one exercise at a time at least once per day, then build from there. The best habits build slowly, gaining momentum over time. Progress over perfection!
We see a wide variety of individuals, from working moms to busy professionals to pro athletes. No two afflictions are the same, especially in Vernon, where the opportunities to move your body are limitless!
Stretching is a widely loved practice worldwide, and for good reasons! Improving your flexibility and physical freedom is a worthy supplement to a healthy, active lifestyle! It’s no wonder that Okanagan residents partake in this practice so often. Whether you’re from Vernon, Kelowna or beyond, stretching can help keep your pain at bay and your mind on your next fun adventure!
Be sure to start slow, and be careful not to overdo it too quickly! If you have any doubts about your body’s ability to withstand stretches, give us a call.
At Rose City Wellness, we’re passionate about helping patients thrive. We have an on-site physiotherapist specializing in manual therapy. Cheri sure loves her stretches! She has an extensive history working in various care settings, including private practice, sports clinics, hospital care and more.
To learn more about our physio service, click here.
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