Keeping your muscles, tendons, and ligaments flexible through regular stretching is an important, but often ignored, piece of the overall health puzzle. Many people find stretching to be time consuming and boring, but it helps prevent scores of different injuries and has an anti-aging effect on the body. We see many patients at our Santa Cruz chiropractic clinic that may have been able to avoid their back pain, neck pain, or shoulder pain with a quality stretching routine.
Important Reasons for Stretching
Perhaps the most important reason to incorporate regular stretching into your life is because it lengthens your muscles and increases flexibility. Many muscle tears and strains could be avoided if those muscles weren’t so short and tight. Additionally, stretching the larger muscles of your quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves helps lengthen your lower back muscles, increasing the benefit even more.
When Should I Stretch?
Static stretching, or stretching performed without any bouncing or movement should be done before and after exercise to reduce your risk of injury. You may want to do some light calisthenics prior to stretching cold muscles, just to reduce your chance of injury.
Stretching Tips and Tricks
When you schedule a consultation at a Santa Cruz chiropractic clinic, we can help to provide you with stretching resources. The first thing to remember about stretching technique is not to rush through it. Even a mildly-pulled muscle can cause pain and hinder your ability to exercise for quite some time. Take your time when you stretch, even if it cuts into your exercise time.
Another tip you should follow is to stretch gently and focus on what you are doing. Reaching for a little bit more is a good way to cause an injury. Just relax and breathe and be in the moment and you’ll know how far to go. Using visualization is an effective tool when it comes to stretching. Try to keep a mental image of the muscle group you’re stretching and watch it elongating. Breathe deeply while you’re stretching and visualizing to help create a stronger brain/muscle connection.
You’re bound to pick up little bits of stretching advice here and there, but the main thing to remember is that it is supposed to feel good. If you get into a situation where stretching any muscle is causing pain, it’s best to stop and reconsider what you are doing. With proper treatment and proper stretching on your own time, you’ll be able to avoid injuries and keep all areas of your body feeling great.
At Sawyer Chiropractic Group our team is here to help answer your questions. Please feel free to contact us today.