Guess what is the most common word I talk to my patients every single day?
Yes! I advocate “stretching” to everyone all the time! However, to my surprise, even people understand stretching is important, not everyone is doing it before & after exercises!
⭐ Why Stretch ?
Stretching helps to lengthen your muscles and loosen up tight joints, which allows better range of motion (ROM) for sports or other exercises. Studies showed good flexibility improves athletic performance & functional activities.
✨ Warm-up & Relax
Stretching can be preformed as a part of warm-up exercises, it is also a great way to get you moving in the morning or to relax your tight muscles after a long day.
Stretching plays a fundamental role in rehabilitation, especially for people with repetitive strain injuries (RSI), such as shoulder impingement, shin splints, plantar fasciitis, tennis/golfer’s elbow, wrist tendonitis & trigger finger.
✨ Clinical research even found out stretching program is as effective as strengthening or manual therapy for patients with chronic neck pain.
⭐ How to Stretch ?
** Three Types of Stretch
1. Static Stretching – The most common types of stretching. It is a great exercise to improve your ROM, and release tight muscles.
Static stretching should stay for at least 15 seconds! Otherwise it won’t be effective.
2. Dynamic Stretching – The stretching involves movement of your limbs, it is the best for your warm-up exercises. The following video is a great example of dynamic stretching! (video credit: Redefining Strength)
3. Pre-Contraction Stretching – This is a unique stretching exercise usually performed by healthcare professionals. You contract your muscle or its antagonist first, then stretch it. The most common ones are Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) techniques, and Muscle Energy Techniques (MET).
Please consults your therapist before trying any kind of pre-contraction stretching.
⭐ Recommendation for Sports
Studies have shown static stretching right before your exercises actually compromise your muscle strength, so called “stretch-induced strength loss“. Therefore, nowadaysmost experts recommend dynamic stretching prior the exercises, then static stretching afterwards.
However, the type of stretching exercises should depend on what sport you do!
In summary, stretching is such an essential exercise for everyone, it helps to improve your flexibility, decrease the risk of RSI or tendon inflammation. It is a great warm-up and relaxing exercise before and after your physical activities!
Let’s Stretch For a Better Life !! ?
Page P. Current Concepts in Muscle Stretching For Exercises And Rehabilitation. The International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy. Feb 2012; 7 (1): 109-119