Stretching-The Dos and Don’ts
Stretching should not be a 4-letter word. We all know that stretching can be beneficial, but we tend to avoid taking the extra few minutes to do it. But, it should be a priority for anyone, whether you work out, compete athletically or just want to keep your body moving properly.
Stretching can improve your flexibility, your range of motion, and your posture. It increases blood flow to your muscles, improves healing and athletic performance, can reduce headaches and stress, and can improve focus and mental clarity. It can also help you to heal from minor sprains and strains and prevent future ones.
A few tips to reduce the risk of injury: dynamic stretching is movement that prepares your body for a workout or competition and is ideal to do before you push yourself. Look to get 5-10 minutes of dynamic stretching prior to your activity. Static stretching is MOST effective AFTER your workout or competition. Do not bounce - move slowly into each gentle, pain-free stretch and hold for 30 seconds, then do the other side. Do not push to the point of pain, you can cause injury if you stretch too hard. Aim for another 5-15 minutes of static stretching following your activity. On days that you are not competing or working out, try to still get 10-20 minutes of stretching in.
If you have a nagging injury and can't find a comfortable way to stretch it, contact your All In physical therapist to assess it and help you get back in the game.
– Jason Allred, DPT