We can’t just stretch once or twice and think that’s enough to get the benefits from stretching. It has to happen on a regular, consistent basis in order for us to achieve better flexibility.
The benefits from Stretching
- Increasing the flexibility of muscles and joints, making it easier to move and perform daily activities.
- Reducing muscle soreness and tension, which can be caused by overuse or injury.
- Improving posture by helping to align the spine and other joints.
- Improving athletic performance by increasing flexibility and reducing muscle soreness.
- Reducing the risk of injury by preparing the muscles and joints for physical activity.
When should we stretch?
- Before exercise: It’s important to warm-up our muscles before any physical activity by stretching for at least 5-10 minutes. Studies have shown a reduction in injury and increase in performance.
- After exercise: Stretching after exercise helps to cool down the muscles and avoid them from tightening up. This also promotes recovery.
- Intervals throughout the day: Taking short breaks throughout the day to stretch can help to relieve muscle tension and improve posture. A common cause of general aches and pains comes from when we are sedentary for long periods of time.
- Before bed: Stretching before bed can help to relax our muscles and in a lot of cases, has shown to improve sleep.
When not to stretch?
There are occasions when the benefits from stretching would be more of a hinderance than help. Stretching should generally be avoided in cases where we have a known muscle or joint injury, or if we are experiencing any significant pain. Stretching should also be avoided for certain medical conditions, such as osteoporosis or rheumatoid arthritis. It is best to consult with a physiotherapist before beginning a stretching routine, particularly if you have any underlying medical conditions or injuries.
If you are unsure, you can reach out to our team of expert therapists using our FREE online service, Ask A Physio. We can talk to you about all the benefits from stretching tailored to your specific condition/issue.