Reach For It: Tips For Stretching
Stretching before and after is supposed to keep you safe during a workout. A solid stretching routine can increase your range of motion, reduce your risk of muscle injury and decrease pressure in your joints, which often is the culprit in joint and muscle pain. When done properly, stretching can significantly compliment your workout and improve your function! Keep these tips in mind to get the most out of your stretching routine:
- Mild discomfort, not wild discomfort- If you’re experiencing actual pain when stretching, you are pushing it too far. Try loosening the stretch and holding it there until it feels comfortable. Then you can deepen it again.
- Warm it up first- You may have been told that you should stretch before engaging in any form of exercise. This isn’t entirely true; your muscles can benefit from a very mild warm-up prior stretching. Warm muscles are more limber and malleable. If you’re heading out for a run, start off with a light jog for about 5 minutes, then begin stretching.
- Lean, don’t bounce- Never bounce in a stretch. Instead, think of a stretch as one fluid motion.
- Hold that pose- For large muscle groups (i.e., core, thighs, trunk), holding the stretch for 30 seconds has been shown in multiple studies to be more effective for large muscle groups than short bursts of stretching.
- Breathe throughout- A natural response to stretching is to hold your breath. It can make you feel more in control or may be a means of working through the discomfort that deep stretches sometimes bring. No matter how tempted you are, you should focus on keeping your breaths deep and regular. You’ll keep oxygen flowing to your muscles, allowing you to stretch more efficiently.
If you’re experienced any sort of orthopaedic injury call Dr. Matthew T. Boes orthopaedic surgeon today and schedule an appointment.