Why should I stretch?

 In pilates, Yoga

Many may believe that stretching is something that only athletes need to do as a warm up, but in but in fact,

why is it so essential that we build stretching into our daily routine?

When we stretch our muscles are lengthening, ultimately this increased flexibility enables a greater range of motion, available at our joints.  Stretching daily helps to maintain lean and long muscles. Without regular stretching, our muscles shorten. Over time, since the muscles have weakened and are unable to move through full range when we try to recruit these muscle groups, only a sub-optimal contraction is possible.

A typical office job, on average 8-9 hour days, where the majority of this work involves sitting at a desk. Sitting with our hips and knees flexed for a prolonged period of time is going to result in shortened muscles, especially in the hip and knee flexors. These large leg muscles play a huge role in gait and other daily activities, ultimately, when a prolonged shortened position is adopted, our natural biomechanics during stance and walking is altered. When tight muscles undergo sudden exertion or exercise, this abrupt muscle lengthening can sometimes lead to strains, tears or other muscle damage. This is where the benefits of stretching come into play…

These large leg muscles play a huge role in gait and other daily activities, ultimately, when a prolonged shortened position is adopted, our natural biomechanics during stance and walking is altered. When tight muscles undergo sudden exertion or exercise, this abrupt muscle lengthening can sometimes lead to strains, tears or other muscle damage. This is where the benefits of stretching come into play…

We need to appreciate the cumulative effects of stretching, considering that there won’t be immediate results after a single stretching session. Stretching needs to be integrated into a daily routine. Typical stretching guidelines recommend stretching for 10-20 minutes daily, holding a sustained position of each stretch for around 30-60 seconds. You should feel

Typical stretching guidelines recommend stretching for 10-20 minutes daily, holding a sustained position of each stretch for around 30-60 seconds. You should feel tension, as the muscle is on stretch, but shouldn’t experience pain – if so seek medical advice. A Physiotherapist could assist with providing a stretching program and retraining weakened muscles, to maintain free and mobile use of our joints, within our daily lives.

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