8 Easy Tips For Stretching

Working a full day, especially when associated with sitting in one position, will eventually lead to muscle balance problems if you don’t stretch. There is an easy solution: stretch your body at regularly. The benefits of stretching are many. Listed below are 8 easy tips to remember when stretching:

  1. Initiate your stretching session slowly. Don’t overdo it
  2. Don’t forget to breathe. Do NOT hold your breath! (This can cause fluctuations with your blood pressure)
  3. Hold each stretch for 20 to 30 seconds & allow the tension in your muscles ‘let go’ as they stretch
  4. Repeat the same stretch for three repetitions to improve your muscle flexibility & range of motion
  5. Gradual and gentle movements only. Avoid forced movements
  6. Stretching should be fun and relaxing, not a chore
  7. Be aware of your posture during your stretch routine
  8. With any feeling of abnormal discomfort, pain, tingling, numbness, or loss of strength, stop stretching & contact Back In Motion Sarasota Physical Therapy

Stretching will promote muscle balance, blood circulation, reduce tension, & give you natural energy. Take a few minutes to stretch every day, your body will thank you for it.

Why Do I Need To Stretch?

It’s simple & easy to stretch. You can practically do it anywhere (even while watching television, on the computer or getting ready for bed). It does not have to take up a lot of your time, but stretching can end up giving you huge results. The benefits of stretching are many. Below are listed just a few of the benefits of stretching:

  • Better blood flow. Stretching increases your circulation which facilitates the transport of oxygen, growth factor and nutrients to your muscles & eliminates waste products. This translates into quicker recovery of musculoskeletal injuries. This also makes you less susceptible to injury
  • Less tension of the musculature, anxiety, stress, & fatigue
  • Increased flexibility & range of motion of the joints. You will feel better after you stretch
  • Improved ability. If your muscles are better conditioned, they can handle the stressed of activity and exercise better and are less likely to become injured. The proper stretching before exercise is a good way to improve your performance. The proper stretching after exercise can aid in workout recovery & decrease the amount of muscle soreness you may experience
  • Enhanced muscular coordination
  • Improved energy levels

Some Stretches to Perform…

Do you sit in one area for several hours at your job or at home? Prolonged sitting over time can contribute to poor posture & low back pain because or progressive ‘tightness’ building up with the musculature in the front of the hips (Iliopsoas complex) and the hamstrings (semitendinosus, semimembranosus and the biceps femoris). Prolonged sitting can also cause tightness and muscle balance problems in the head neck and shoulders. You can help limit the onset of painful conditions by doing some of these simple stretches:

  • Hand & Finger:Put both of your hands on the desk in front of you, spread your fingers until you feel a stretch. Hold for 10 seconds. Perform 5 reps. Be aware of your spine posture while doing all of these stretches. No slouching.
  • Wrist:Start seated upright in your chair. Elevate one of your arms & stretch it out in front of you (horizontal with the ground) with your palm facing up at the ceiling. Be gentle & slowly pull the hand & fingers of your elevated arm down (use the opposite hand to do this). Hold 20 seconds. Perform 5 reps.
  • Shoulder:Elevate the left arm & reach behind your head. Put your hand on the upper back or neck & be sure to keep the arm close to your. Use the right hand to gently hold & pull the left elbow towards the back of the head area. Maintain this for approximately 20 seconds. Perform 3 reps with each shoulder.
  • Spine: Improve mobility & posture through your lower back with this gentle spinal stretch. Start seated upright in your chair. Put the right arm behind the right hip. Hold onto the chair as you twist your upper body to the right. Hold onto the chair with the left hand to increase the stretching movement. Maintain this pose for 10 seconds. 5 reps for each side.

Remember, If it hurts then DO NOT DO IT. The Physical Therapists at Back In Motion Sarasota Physical Therapy have specialty training in a unique form of stretching called: Active Isolated Stretching. We want you to perform stretching on your own each and every day, however nothing beats that 2nd set of hands doing the stretch for you and getting that little extra bit of movement while you focus on relaxing the muscles. We can teach you how to promote a healthy you, eliminate low back pain and many other painful conditions just by isolating and stretching certain muscles. For more information on how to perform the correct stretching techniques, please contact our office at (941) 925-2700.

About the Author Tim Burnell, PT

Tim Burnell is the Lead Physical Therapist at Back In Motion Sarasota. He has over two decades of clinical experience. He takes pride in getting to the root of the problem which helps get his clients better...Faster! He is a family man & enjoys spending time with the love of his life, Monique. He has 2 children & a dog named Annie. Tim's son, Andre' is 11 years old and his daughter Joliebelle (nicknamed Pooky) is 7 years old. He enjoys visiting his wife's side of the family in New Orleans and his side of the family in Vermont. Tim grew up in Vermont, went to Physical Therapy School in Alabama, got his first job at Tulane Hospital in New Orleans and moved to Sarasota Florida after Hurricane Katrina in 2006.

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