The importance of stretching

We’ve all heard of the importance of exercise time and time again – and while it is an essential part of keeping us healthy, without correct preparation, it can lead to injury and pain. Stretching is an often overlooked component of exercise, but did you know stretching in itself has a plethora of benefits? It should be an extremely important part of our daily routine to keep our muscles and joints working as optimally as possible, however it often gets forgotten in the hustle and bustle of our busy lives.

Flexibility is just as important in our physical health as aerobic fitness and building muscle. Flexibility is an essential component in keeping our joints and muscles strong and healthy, and maintains a high range of motion in our joints. Stretching achieves this, and without it, muscles become tight and shorten. When called upon for strenuous activity, our muscles are then unequipped to undertake the activity and can easily become injured as they’re suddenly stretched. Injured muscles are then too weak to properly support joint movement, which leaves joints susceptible to injury, as well.

Regular stretching keeps muscles long, strong and lean. While daily stretching can seem a daunting task, it’s actually much more manageable than expected! The lower body with the larger muscle groups need the most attention, as especially with our generally sedentary lifestyles, they are the most susceptible to shortening and tightening, and are the areas most important for mobility. Ensure you stretch your calves, hamstrings, hip flexors and quadriceps. Stretching your lower back, shoulders and neck is also beneficial.

Stretching cold muscles can cause tears in the muscle fibres, so to warm up your muscles, you should go for a brisk 5-10 minute walk beforehand. When stretching, hold the stretch for 30 seconds, and avoid bouncing as this can cause injury. You should feel a gentle stretch – if you are experiencing pain, this is a sign you have perhaps previously injured the muscle. If this is the case, you should visit a healthcare professional to help treat your injury, as well as design you a stretching program to suit your body. Here at Body Mind Central we have practitioners that can help you achieve better physical wellbeing, ranging from chiropractors, a massage therapist and an occupational therapist. Give us a call on 9518 0096 to book your appointment today!