We’ve all done it. Spin class is ending and the instructor begins the cooldown and we book it to the door. Stretching is so easy to skip yet is just as important as your workout! Stretching helps your muscles work more effectively, improves your performance in physical activities, and decreases your risk of injuries! The benefits extend beyond your physical body and can be an excellent relaxation method and stress reliever.
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) defines flexibility as the ability to move a joint through full range of motion. Maintaining flexibility in all joints can facilitate movement. In contrast, when an inflexible muscle is moved beyond a joint’s shortened range of motion, tissue damage can occur.
Meaning, if you sit at the computer all day your chest muscles may become tight and held in a shortened position. If you drop your coffee cup and quickly reach for it, you may be prone to a muscle strain or tear in that particular muscle group. The same goes for in an athletic performance, if your hamstrings are tight and you take off for a quick sprint down the field, those muscles may be prone to tissue damage. Flexibility is important for an Average Joe as well as an athlete!
Unsure of where to start? Begin with about 10 minutes of stretching a day, focusing on the major muscle groups: upper body (arms, shoulders, neck), back, and lower body (glutes, thighs and calves). If you have a desk job that requires you to stay put from nine to five, you’ll want to give extra attention to your lower back and shoulders. If you’re on the move-picking up toddlers and bags of groceries, you may want to concentrate on your hamstrings and arms.
A simple tip to keep in mind is that stretching should not be painful. You do not want to push further than slight discomfort with any stretch you perform!
This is only a short list of the many benefits of incorporating stretching into your routine. Unsure where to start? Follow along with any RET clinic on social media all month for various types of stretches you can start today!
RET Physical Therapy Group has been “Your neighborhood physical therapy clinic,” since it was founded in 1973. The company is made up of 26 locations in the Puget Sound area that are all locally owned and operated by a team of physical therapists focused on a single purpose: to provide consistent, quality patient care within neighborhoods and communities. For more information, visit www.retptgroup.com.