Hi Everyone! I hope you all had a great Christmas and a Happy New Year, writes Reading Osteopath Rob Bryson. In January Reflex Spinal Health is focusing on health and fitness with our ‘New Year, New You’ awareness promo (read more about this below). I have decided to look at the importance of stretching, especially static stretching after exercise. If you are like me, you probably get to the end of your workout and the last thing you want to do is stretch. Whether it’s because you don’t make the time or just can’t be bothered! I’m hoping that I can change your mind….
This might sound obvious, but what does having better flexibility really mean? Flexibility is the ability to move muscles and joints through a full normal range of motion. If you improve your flexibility, it can make day-to-day activities and exercise a lot more comfortable as our muscles can lengthen further which also contributes to better joint mobility.
You can also reduce your risk of injury through static stretching after exercise, as your muscles can stretch further without being over strained. However, you would want to combine this with strengthening exercise as this will allow you to control the movement through the range. If you’re serious about your exercise then the thing you fear most is getting injured!
Static stretching after exercise can improve physical performance due to increased mobility, leading to muscles working more effectively. It’s always a great feeling when you hit a new personal best or exercise and it seems more comfortable than previously. It can help reduce aches and pains as our muscles are less tense, which can also prevent cramping.
Stretching is not only a great way to wind down from a workout physically but also a great chance to check-in mentally. Taking some quiet time to yourself and concentrating on your breathing can be very beneficial, similar to meditating. This is also a great way of relieving stress. After a good stretching session, I always feel a lot more relaxed and ready for the next part of my day.
Tension or cervicogenic headaches are the result of increased muscle tone in the upper back, neck and shoulders. As practitioners, this is something we see very commonly in the clinic. The majority of headaches have a mechanical cause, and these headaches usually respond extremely well with chiropractic and osteopathic treatment. However, adjusting your restricted joints is only half the battle! We also need to reduce the muscle tone in these areas. Stretching is a great way of doing this. If you do suffer with tension headaches you can concentrate more on these areas to relieve tension and reduce your headaches.
Stretching can help reduce muscle imbalances which can occur throughout the body. Muscle imbalances are a contributing factor to misalignment. For example, if your hip flexors are tighter on one side than the other, it can result in a forward tilt of the pelvis on that side. Likewise, if your glute (buttock) muscles are tighter on one side it can contribute to a backward rotation on that side. If these misalignments progress without intervention this is when issues can occur in the body. Regular stretching can decrease the chances of this happening and result in improved posture.
It is important to note that the benefits of static stretching will only occur if stretching is done consistently on a regular basis. If these aren’t good reasons to start stretching after exercise, I don’t know what are! If you’re not used to stretching after exercise maybe start by concentrating on areas which you think would benefit you most. You can start by doing five minutes post exercise and gradually build this up until you have a full body routine nailed down. Wishing you all the best in 2022, perhaps stretching can be one of your New Year’s resolutions!
It’s January, and it is now 2022! Another year has flown by really fast. We all know that January is a great time for a reset, and a time for setting new
goals. How can the Reflex Spinal Health team help support you moving towards your goals, and this of your friends and loved ones? We have helped many people change their health status and move towards particular goals, such as:
At this time of year i can also recommend reading Andy Green’s, our clinic director and lead chiropractor, book titled, ‘One Body One Life: Don’t Screw it Up!‘ Do you recognise what is “good” and what is “bad” for your health? Do you keep procrastinating on making the healthy changes you know will benefit you and your loved ones? Is stress making you sick and shortening your life? The first thing to do? Assess where you are now, and then follow a series of easily sustainable changes that you can stick to, get the balance right, and reclaim your health.
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Reflex Spinal Health are a passionate, dynamic spinal health team. We are committed to help as many in our community of Reading, Berkshire and South Oxfordshire to enjoy the vitality of great health, to reach their health goals and feel truly alive! Our chiropractors and osteopaths offer the highest standards of care in a superb environment.