Stretching is Extremely Important, Both Before AND After Workouts

Did You Know Stretching Both Before and After Workouts Could Help Decrease the Risk of Injury?

Do you make time to go to the gym a few times per week? If so, you should commend yourself for your efforts.

But at our physiotherapy clinic, we notice an interesting trend with a lot of our active patients: they go to the gym regularly, but they largely neglect stretching and mobility work.

We’re not sure why this is so common—maybe because stretching doesn’t seem as “exciting” as an actual workout.

But proper stretching before and after exercise has many proven health benefits and can improve your workout, too!

Talk to a physiotherapist today about which types of stretching you should focus on and find out which areas on your body have a limited range of motion and flexibility.

In the meantime, keep reading to learn why stretching is so great for your body and mind.

Stretching and physiotherapy

There is a reason why stretching is a staple of physiotherapy. The act of stretching can do wonders for your health. In fact, according to Physiopedia,

“Stretching exercises have traditionally been included as part of a training and recovery program.

Evidence shows that physical performance in terms of maximal strength, number of repetitions and total volume are all affected differently by the each form of stretching – static stretch (SS), dynamic stretch (DS) and Pre-contraction stretching, Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation stretching (PNFS) being the most common type.

Stretching can help improve flexibility and range of motion about your joints. Improved flexibility may: Improve your performance in physical activities; Decrease your risk of injuries; Help your joints move through their full range of motion; Enable your muscles to work most effectively.”

Stretching provides numerous benefits to help your body keep itself healthier. One of the most important of these is stress relief. Everyday life throws lots of challenges at you, and the resulting stress can be held in your muscles.

This leads to tightness, spasms, and chronic discomforts such as headaches and neck pain. Stress also floods your body with “fight or flight” hormones such as cortisone and adrenaline. These imbalances can suppress your immune function, making you more vulnerable to viruses and other diseases. Hypertension is yet another dangerous consequence of chronic stress.

Regular stretches help your body release all that pent-up stress. By relaxing and loosening your muscles, you can maintain better control over your blood pressure, avoid chronic muscle pain, and keep your immune system ready for anything.

What can stretching before and after workouts offer?

1. Preparing for exercise ahead of time.

Dynamic stretching before a workout can help your muscles, ligaments, tendons, joint capsules, and other tissues become loosened up and prepared for exercise.

Pre-workout mobility also increases core body temperature and stimulates increased blood flow throughout the body so your tissues will have adequate amounts of oxygen to work.

Meanwhile, stretching after a workout helps you cool down appropriately and reduce tissue tightness and pain.

2. Working out better!

A personalized stretching routine that addresses your specific areas of postural imbalances and tightness can help you improve your range of motion.

When you combine this with strength training and aerobic conditioning, you can expect to function more efficiently during your workouts and enjoy greater stamina, power, and speed.

Since pre-workout mobility also prepares your body for exercise, it’ll also help you safely reach your desired workout intensity more quickly since you’ll be able to start a workout already warmed up and ready to go.

3. Relieving stress.

Stretching regularly—especially when combined with deep breathing and mindfulness exercises—is a great way to ease mental stress and even reduce signs and symptoms of depression and anxiety.

4. Reducing injury risk.

Some studies do show that stretching may reduce your risk of muscle strains, ligament sprains, joint damage, and other painful injuries common with sports and athletics.

5. Enhancing your health.

Regular stretching has been shown to improve your blood pressure and heart rate as well as maximize your overall mobility, especially as you age.

The importance of warm-ups

You may have heard that stretching “cold” muscles isn’t ideal—which is true. Our bodies need to be adequately warmed up prior to stretching—otherwise we increase our risk for injury and tissue damage.

This doesn’t mean you should never stretch at all before a workout, however. A simple 5-minute warm-up such as light jogging, brisk walking, and arm circles and leg swings is usually sufficient to get your joints and tissues warmed up and prepared for mobility work.

For many folks, dynamic stretches are the most effective for pre-workout mobility. Meanwhile, they’ll save static stretches and foam rolling for after the workout. Wondering what works best for you?

Our physiotherapy staff is happy to help you problem-solve and figure out the best routine for your body.

Want more help? We’ve got you covered!

If you’d like to become more disciplined with a mobility routine and need some inspiration and education on the best mobility moves your body needs, schedule an appointment with a physiotherapist today.

Sources:

Have You Been Stretching? If Not, These 5 Reasons Will Make You Want to Start!

Add Stretching to Your Daily Routine Today!

Some people think that stretching is an unnecessary part of exercising. The truth is that stretching is a necessary component of exercise.

Can some simple physical motions dramatically improve your overall health, wellness, and quality of life? In the case of stretching, the answer is most definitely yes. Stretching exercises are a staple of physiotherapy for just that reason.

In fact, according to physiotherapists, stretching is an important part of one’s daily routine – whether you’re exercising or not.

What are the different types of stretching?

Stretching involves stretching connective tissue, a muscle or a tendon. The goal of stretching is to improve range of motion, flexibility and muscle elasticity. The five most common stretching exercises are:

  • Low Load
  • Static
  • Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF)
  • Ballistic
  • Dynamic

Ballistic stretch physiotherapy is a rapid bouncing motion to stretch a muscle. Dynamic stretching by a physiotherapist entails stretching with motion at different speeds and distances.

These movements are performed in a controlled and slow manner. Examples include torso swings, arms swings and leg swings. Static stretch physiotherapy involved stretching the muscle and holding it for a few seconds.

PNF entails holding and controlling techniques to activate specific receptors in muscles. This technique improves muscle length and decreases muscle tension. The low load stretching technique is gradual application of tension to enhance connective tissue remodeling.

A physiotherapist will determine the best stretching exercises for your affected area and implement them into your treatment plan. They will also give you home exercises.

These stretching exercises may include groin stretches, quadriceps stretches, knee stretches, calf stretches and more. They will also show you how to do easy stretches with a towel at home. Knee stretches are very common in all age groups. That’s because knee injuries are common due to overuse or athletic injuries.

Activities like running and biking can result in tight quadriceps muscles. Keep in mind that tight muscles can predispose you to injury. If so, quadriceps stretches will be implemented into a treatment plan.

Improve your mobility with stretching

It’s quite common for a physiotherapist to prescribe various stretching exercises to individuals suffering from chronic pain conditions. Stretching takes on special importance when you’ve become less mobile due to issues such as osteoarthritis. The less you move your joints, the greater the likelihood that your muscles and connective tissues will lose some of their length.

This change obviously limits your joint motion even further and leaves you in even more pain. Stretches naturally support physiotherapy recommendations such as walking, heat therapy, or massage therapy in increasing blood flow to painful joints and widening your pain-free range of motion.

Chronic pain syndromes often involve tight muscles. Syndromes such as fibromyalgia and its cousin, myofascial pain syndrome, cause muscle knots that limit muscle motion and trigger referred pain to other parts of the body. Regular stretching can help you “untie those” painful knots.

PT and stretching

It’s important to make sure you’re doing the right kind of stretches before and after your workout. A physiotherapist can put together an exercise routine for your specific type of workout.

Whether you’re playing a game of tennis, training for a mini-marathon, or walking through the neighborhood, physiotherapy can help you make the most of your activities. A physiotherapist can guide you regarding which types of stretches are the best for your current physical condition and the type of activities you’re participating in.

It’s also important to make sure you’re doing the right exercises in the correct way. You’ll want to make an appointment with a qualified physiotherapist to learn what stretches are right for you. Physiotherapy can help you make the most of your workouts and improve your overall health.

5 more reasons why you should stretch

1. Stretching helps reduce muscle tension. It’s a therapeutic treatment by a physiotherapist. You’ll feel the rewards of stretching during your daily routine, walking or lifting.

2. Another benefit of stretching is increased blood circulation. Muscles require sufficient oxygen and nutrients in order to perform well. Stretching ramps up blood flow and transports oxygen and nutrients.

3. Stretching specific exercises prior to exercising helps the muscles to achieve maximum range of motion. It also helps strengthen the muscles. That is why during physiotherapy stretching is a main focus.

4. Stretching enhances joint range of motion. It enables the body part to move easier. For more dynamic movement, stretching increases muscular coordination. Some physiotherapy sessions focus on a muscle group instead of just one muscle for stretching.

5. Lastly, a benefit of stretching is heightened energy levels. The increased circulation increases energy levels. Learning to stretch properly will lead you to a more active lifestyle. “According to results of a new systematic review, moderate-grade evidence seems to support strengthening and stretching exercises to help ease chronic neck pain.”

Get started today

Whether you see a physiotherapist or not, stretching should be a part of your daily routine. You’ll feel better, perform better, and avoid injury. Contact BeActive Physio today to learn more!

Source:

5 Reasons Why Stretching Will Benefit Your Overall Health

Stretching is an important part of physiotherapy, and many physiotherapists will include specific stretches into their sessions. Strength and endurance are both undeniably important; however, stretching is a crucial part of anyone’s exercise regimen, whether you are an athlete or someone coping with aches and pains. Stretching helps in increasing flexibility, which can alleviate pain and make other aspects of treatment easier – even strength and endurance!

What does stretching do?

Stretching has a lot of benefits that we don’t always think about. Some of these benefits include:

  1. Improving range of motion.

Range of motion consists of how well your joints can move in all directions. This influences every movement you make! If you have a constricting condition, such as arthritis or an injury, your range of motion can be hindered. Whether it’s turning your head to see behind you while driving, or bending your knee freely while running, range of motion is crucial for both daily life and for fitness pursuits. Stretching can help reduce stiffness and increase flexibility, therefore improving your range of motion.

  1. Finding relief in unexpected places.

Sometimes we forget how interconnected our bodies are. It is obvious that if we experience back pain, we should stretch out our backs. However, sometimes stretching your legs during physiotherapy can provide unexpected relief to your back, as well. In fact, your hamstrings, upper thighs, and hips can all play a big part in creating lower back pain relief. Likewise, improving your posture through stretching your torso can provide the kind of support you need to keep your spine from compressing, which helps you avoid shoulder and neck pain. Essentially, stretching different parts of your body can provide relief to places you may not have considered!

  1. Enhancing performance.

This point is especially true for athletes. The more you condition your muscles, joints, and ligaments, the greater advantage you’ll have in your sport. For example, bodybuilders recover from their reps much quicker when they stretch as a cool-down. Golfers can achieve a longer reach by increasing their range of motion in their hips and shoulders. Swimmers can even out their strokes by perfecting their balance through stretching. If you are an athlete, stretching can play a crucial role in your performance.

  1. Preventing injuries.

When muscles are tight or tense, the likelihood of injury increases. This occurs because that particular part of your body isn’t working at its peak performance, even though you might be. When you stretch, you’re loosening up your muscles, in addition to increasing range of motion and improving balance, which all factor into injury prevention. All of these factors can prevent you from making the types of moves that lead to injury, whether it’s coming down too hard on one foot, twisting your back further than you should, or taking a fall due to lack of balance.

  1. Improving circulation.

Stretching can reduce stress, but that isn’t the only reason it’s good for your heart and your musculoskeletal system. In fact, stretching plays a key role in almost every aspect of your physical abilities. Tight muscles constrict available oxygen supply, essentially robbing themselves of the nutrients they need. Stretches help reverse the process. When you stretch frequently, you’ll also get the benefit of increased blood flow to your joints and throughout the body.

We can help!

There are additional ways that stretching can help improve your quality of life, whether you find a sense of pride in being limber or relaxation in taking time to stretch out your body. When you’re ready to add stretches to your daily routine, consider getting started through physiotherapy. Our physiotherapists can talk you through which types of stretches may be best for you, whether it be static, dynamic, pre-activity, or post-activity. Contact BeActive Physio today to learn more about how our team can help you create a stretching treatment plan, and how our services will benefit you!

Sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3273886/

https://www.moveforwardpt.com/Resources/Detail/tips-to-recover-from-workout

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