Importance of Stretching for Everyone
Has your doctor or chiropractor emphasized the importance of stretching 🙆 in your daily life? Stretching may seem like an activity that is only necessary for athletes or fitness enthusiasts, but the truth is that everyone should be incorporating stretching into their daily routine. Physical therapist David Nolan from Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital emphasizes that stretching is not a one-time activity, but rather a habit that should be done regularly to maintain mobility and independence.
The Importance of Stretching for Muscles and Joints:
Stretching is crucial for maintaining flexible, strong, and healthy muscles. It allows for a full range of motion in the joints, preventing shortening and tightness in the muscles. When muscles are too tight, they become weak and limit mobility, which can lead to joint pain, strains, and muscle damage. For instance, sitting at a desk for prolonged periods can result in tight hamstrings, impeding leg extension or knee straightening during walking. Similarly, if tight muscles are suddenly stretched during a strenuous activity like tennis, they may become damaged, leading to joint injury. Regular stretching ensures that muscles remain long, lean, and flexible, reducing the likelihood of muscle strain. Additionally, healthy muscles can aid in balance and prevent falls.
Daily stretching may seem daunting for those with a muscular physique, but according to Nolan, focusing on specific areas is key. Concentrate on your lower extremities – calves, hamstrings, hip flexors, and quadriceps – as they are critical for mobility. Don’t forget to stretch your shoulders, neck, and lower back as well. It’s recommended to aim for daily stretches, or at least three to four times per week. Taking our weekly class followed by small 5 to 6 minute routines every day can be really beneficial. Consider seeking guidance from a physical therapist to assess muscle strength and tailor a stretching program to your needs. If you have a chronic condition, such as Parkinson’s disease or arthritis, it’s best to consult your doctor before starting a new stretching regimen.
The Importance of Consistency in Stretching for Optimal Flexibility:
Don’t expect perfect flexibility with just one stretch session – it requires a commitment over time. According to Massachusetts General Hospital physical therapist David Nolan, it takes weeks to months to achieve flexibility and even longer to maintain it. So, be patient and stay dedicated to the process. One particular stretch that can help maintain flexibility is the hamstring stretch. Begin by sitting on the floor with your legs extended in front of you, then slide your hands down your legs until you feel a slight burn. Hold this position for 30 seconds before slowly returning to a sitting position.
The Truth About Stretching: How to Do It Right:
It used to be common knowledge that stretching was essential before any physical activity. However, recent studies suggest that stretching cold muscles can actually cause harm. According to Nolan, “When the fibers are cold and unprepared, they can be damaged. Exercising first sends blood flow to the area, making the tissue more adaptable.” A mere five to ten minutes of light activity, like a brisk walk, is sufficient to warm up the muscles before stretching. 🙆♂️ 🙆♀️ At Shakti, you will practice stretching with all safety measures in place, however if you have chronic pain conditions, or prolonged injury, please consult your doctor. While you may feel tension, you should not feel pain. If you do, stop stretching that muscle and seek medical advice.
Meet us for a wonderful stretch every Wed at 8:15 am
Love and light ~ Neelam Kataria