Stretching is so often something people neglect to do at the end of a training session because they are too tired to do anything else. Or when they do, they just rush through each stretch and so don’t get the full benefit of each one.

This is a video of Dr. Craig at the Outer Banks fitness club, KnuckleUp. Dr. Craig is demonstrating a good way to stretch which reduces the possibility of injury.

Stretching improves flexibility. Flexibility is the range of motion available to joints. Flexibility is important because it improves muscle balance around a joint, it reduces the chance of injury when playing a sport or in every day activities, and it increases the blood and nutrient supply to muscles and cartilage.

Stretching should not be done as a warm-up, as you could injure your muscles stretching them when they’re cold. At least a few minutes of cardiovascular activity is recommended to warm the muscles sufficiently. Each major muscle group should be stretched slowly and in a controlled manner, holding each stretch for 1 to 3 sets of 10 to 60 seconds. Hold each stretch at the point of mild tension or tightness, not to the point of pain.

It is very important to stretch after any physical activity. When muscles are exerted, they tighten and shorten as a result. Stretching them helps restore and lengthen the muscle fibers. When doing strength training, you could stretch each muscle group directly after performing each set.

When not to Stretch:
·         Following muscle strains or ligament sprains
·         When joints or muscles are infected, inflamed or hurt
·         After a recent fracture
·         When sharp pains are in the joints or muscles.

If you have any pains, sprains or strains,  visit the Outer Banks chiropractic specialist, Dr. Craig McGiffin, for help living a natural pain free life.

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