Why should we stretch?
Everyone should have good flexibility, but due to our new sedentary lifestyles through 2020 to 2021, our natural flexibility has become compromised and we’ve all ended up far less supple than we used to be. A regular stretching routine should be an integral part of your fitness routine and it is as important as either cardiovascular or resistance training, bringing a whole range of benefits including:
- Improved mobility
- Greater range of movement
- Greater efficiency of movement
- Reduced risk of injury
- The positive feeling of being loose and supple
However, many people don’t realise that an incorrect stretching technique is actually worse for you than no stretching at all, so make sure you follow the stretching protocols and the do’s and don’ts outlined below and you will achieve safe, long-lasting flexibility gains.
The list below are tips you can implement to make sure you’re always stretching correctly and safely for your body.
- Ensure that the muscles being stretched are thoroughly warmed-up
- Do stretch at the end of your training session
- Always relax
- Ensure to breathe easily
- Hold each stretch for a minimum of 30 seconds
- Follow an all-over body program for stretching to avoid postural imbalances
- Follow correct technique
- Avoid pain, stretching should never be painful – if you experience pain, you may be stretching wrong. Always consult your physio of stretching becomes painful.
- Don’t try and stretch cold muscles – it’s a recipe for injury
- Don’t stretch before your warm-up or workout
- Don’t bounce or rock whilst holding a stretch – you could overstretch and cause an injury
- Don’t hold a stretch for just a few seconds
- Don’t hold your breath
- Don’t focus on just leg stretches or just upper body stretch
Time spent learning how to stretch correctly and return your now shortened, tight muscles to their original length will provide considerably greater and longer-term benefits than a few more minutes gym training or a couple of extra miles on the road. By following the stretching dos and don’ts listed above, you will find you’ll become injured far less as your body and muscles are prepared for any activities or workouts you do.
If you are still unaware of how to stretch safely for your body post-workout or you are also not sure of which workouts are correct for you, book in with us for a functional training session.
In a functional training session, your physio will teach you how to exercise and stretch correctly for your specific body.
As you may know, part of physiotherapy is exercising well. As physiotherapists, we have extensive knowledge of anatomy, biomechanics, as well as exercises. We know which muscle does what, and at which angle and alignment certain exercises should be performed in order to target the correct muscles.
But most importantly, we understand how to prevent injuries or overloading as a result of exercise. Our physios can show you exactly how to perform FUNCTIONAL exercises to help you stay strong, fit and remain injury free!
If you book a functional training session with our physio’s, we will assess your biomechanics and teach you how to exercise in a safe and healthy way, based on your personal body type and goals. If you prefer exercising under supervision, then we are more than happy to see you regularly for training at our rehab gym.
If you’re not 100% sure if Physiotherapy is for you, why not book a FREE 15-minute discovery visit? In this complimentary visit you will have a chance to speak to a physio about your needs/and or condition and they will let you know if physio is right for you.
To book an appointment or a discovery visit, call us on: 0207 636 8845