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Stretching 101

What are the benefits of Stretching? 1. Improves posture 2. Improve range of motion 3. Decrease pain 4. Reduces your risk of injury 5. Relieves muscle soreness 6. Improves flexibility 7. Improves your balance 8. Enhance strength and energy 9. Prevents joint issues 10. Stress reliever 11. Maintain joint and muscle health 12. Better overall Health and Wellness What are the different types of Stretches? 1. Passive Stretch - is a relaxed assisted stretch with the help of a partner, massage therapist, or your environment, using tools like resistance bands, wall, chair, etc. Typically used to "cool down" after a workout. 2. Active Stretch - is assuming a position and holding the stretch for a certain length of time, with no assistance, or help. Yoga utilities active stretching. This is the best self-stretch method. 3. PNF stretch - also known as proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation. It uses a system of contracting the agonists muscle, hold, relax, followed by contracting the antagonistic muscle. This technique rapidly shows instant results, and continued regular stretch keeps those results. This type of Stretching is utilized by medical professionals, like Physical or Massage Therapists 4. Dynamic stretch - is a slow, very controlled stretch with no bouncing involved. Sometime utilizing weighs to achieve a full range of motion. This builds muscle, elongates your muscles, and can be a complete workout in itself. 5. Ballistic Stretch - uses gravity, your body's own momentum, and or bouncing to surpass your stretch limit. Like kicking your leg up towards your head. It's typically used to warm up your muscles. Professional athletes use this type of stretching to achieve optimal performance. What happens to your muscles if you never stretch? Without stretching, muscles and joints become stiff, and shorten overtime from inactivity. Muscles become weak and unable to extend all the way, restricting your range of motion, and puts you at risk for joint pain, strains, and muscle damage, and they may begin to atrophy. 4 basic rules to self Stretching. 1. Stretching should never be painful, and you should stay within your range of motion. On a scale of 1 - 10. 1 being you don't feel the stretch, and 10 being the stretch is painful, a 7 is ideal. WITH NO PAIN! 2. Please make sure you're taking steady deep breaths while you are stretching. If you find yourself holding your breath, pause, and try again. 3. If you are being stretched let your stretch provider position you into the stretch, and do not attempt to help them, unless directed otherwise. 4. Always remember to do what feels good. How long should I hold my Stretch? Well that depends on your body. Anywhere between 30 seconds for beginners to 4 minutes for professional athletes. At the 3 minute mark your muscles begin to elongate. With repetitive stretching, you can keep the flexibility you gain from a session. However you could potentially injure yourself, if you do not listen to your body, and start slow, while maintaining the 4 basic rules about stretching effectively.

My personal preference is holding a stretch for 3 seconds, then pause, and repeat. My favorite technique is PNF. I find better results doing PNF stretching. Say you're stretching your hamstrings, hold the stretch for 3 seconds, pause, and repeat 3 times. I would follow this up with quadriceps stretches. Hold the quad stretch for 3 seconds, pause, and repeat 3 times. done. Self Stretching for the beginner Start slow. Evaluate your routine, and identify a time that you can add 5 minutes of Stretching to your day. It could be in the morning, when you get out of bed, or maybe you want to stretch after work at night, You could stretch before an activity, and/or after, stretch while you wait in line, stretch at your desk at work, stretch during lunch. Identify a time slot in your day to add 5 minutes. Do this 1-4 times a day, or whenever you remember. Stretching will create a huge impact in your body, and health. Strive for about 90 minutes a week or more. If 5 minutes seems daunting, start even slower. Identify an area of your body you'd like to improve, maybe it's lacking range of motion, or maybe it's always tight and causes you pain. Say your neck is always stiff, from sitting at your desk. Google some neck stretches, and choose a few that feel good. Whenever you remember, do those specific stretches. Once this becomes a part of your routine, add more by including another body part. Self Stretching for the physically active If you already workout, 3-5 days a week, step 1 would be to add a 10-15 min stretch before and after your workout. Once you add stretching to your workout routine, and begin to feel the effects. Like faster recovery times between workouts, improvement with your flexibility. You will feel your body start preforming at its best. At this point reevaluate when you can add more stretches to your day. Another way to add stretching to your routine is to consider switching one of your workouts, for a day of Stretching. Yoga and Zumba are a complete workout believe it or not. Do not stretch without a doctor's concent if you have one of the following conditions: Osteoporosis Acute rheumatoid arthritis Sharp acute pain in any joint Muscle strain or tear Recent fracture Hematoma Vascular injury Joint instability Recovering from an injury Recovering from an surgery How do I know if I stretched too much? Listen to your body, if you are sore 24 hours after a stretch session. You've done too much, and should decrease the length of time you're stretching, or decrease the angle of the area that you have aggravated. Say you did a self stretch session for 15 mins, and one shoulder is in pain the next day. That shoulder was stretched past its pain index, or a stretch was held for too long. Adjust accordingly. Please remember the 1-10 pain scale, we want to stay at a 7 or below. What conditions can stretching help with? Frozen Shoulder Sciatica Carpal Tunnel Thorasic Outlet Chronic Migraines Fibromyalgia Tennis Elbow Golfers Elbow Swimmers Shoulder Chronic low-back Pain Arthritis Joint Pain and many more.

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