http-equiv='refresh'/> Global Therapies: Stretching 5 - A summary

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Stretching 5 - A summary

A while ago, in August, we wrote a series of blogs on stretching. We thought it would be helpful to give you a summary on stretching:

Warm up before you stretch.

When you stretch, don't count, just go with what feels right.

You are NOT looking for pain, you are looking for a pleasant sensation. If it's painful, its more likely that you are damaging muscles, not making them better.

Stretch gently and slowly (unless warming up for an event).


Breathe some more.

Make sure that you are stretching all the muscles that you are meant to be stretching. The most common one is stretching out one muscle in the calf and not the other one. Know what you are stretching.

Muscles have lots of different fibres. Don't just stretch in one direction, do it in multiple directions to stretch as many of the fibres as possible. Your muscles are not 2D and linear, they are 3D and work in multiple planes. Make sure they are flexible across them all.

Stretch before exercise (lightly) and, more importantly, stretch AFTER exercise.

Be aware of your limitations. This is not a competition. Every person is different, and has different things that need to be stretched. This is why there is not a stretching "routine" telling you what to stretch and for how long. It is as individual as you are. Find out what is inflexible in you, find out what the ranges of motion are meant to be, go away and gently stretch them.

Don't expect to get visible results in a day, a week, or even two weeks. You may have spent more than a decade getting tighter and tighter. You won't undo all that tension in a matter of a single stretching session. Be patient.

Its not just muscle you are stretching, but tendon and fascia.

And don't forget to DRINK WATER. Your muscles and tendons and fascia are more than 70% water. If they are dehydrated your body is like a swamp. Boggy and unresponsive. You need it to be more like a river. Trying to make dehydrated tissue flexible is like trying to make an old elastic band stretchy again. Its just going to break eventually. Luckily, unlike the elastic band, the body can regenerate. Drink water.

I hope at least some of the stuff I've written down has been of some use to someone, and I hope it hasn't totally confused you.

Once more I shall say, if you don't want to stretch, don't, but if you do, do it sensibly.

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