Muscle Stretching Tips for Active Individuals

runner-690265_1280Stretching (flexibility) is an important part of your exercise program. Muscle and tendons are elastic in nature. When muscles are not stretched on a regular basis they can lose this elastic ability. When this occurs it not only can cause problems to the specific muscle itself but to the surrounding structures and joints, by pulling them into different directions and areas they don’t belong. Stretching should be done 2-3 times a day, holding each stretch for a minimum of 15-30 seconds, 3 times. By not holding the stretch for at least 15 seconds no real stretch occurs. The muscles first reaction to a stretch is to contract and tighten up and it’s not until about 8-10 seconds into the stretch that the muscle begins to relax and stretching occurs.

Always warm up before you begin your stretching program. Ideally, a warm muscle is much more easily stretched than a cold muscle and this can be achieved by taking a brisk walk, riding a stationary bike or walking on a treadmill for 10-15 minutes. Proper daily stretching can decrease the chance of an injury occurring to any body part. It will also keep any individual functional in their everyday activities, without them having to worry about the onset of pain and discomfort. More benefits from daily stretching include increased joint range of motion, reduced stress, promotion of relaxation, and improved posture and overall performance.

One form of stretching that is not recommended is ballistic stretching. Ballistic stretching involves a fast “bouncing” movement at the end range of movement. This bouncing motion can injure muscle, joint and nerves with these jerking movements and is not recommended for majority of individuals.

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Remember, it is all about you! For more information on related health and wellness, visit Tri-Rehab’s website at www.trirehab.com.

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