5 Benefits of Stretching To Improve Your Health

Do you stretch regularly, or only when you wake up in the morning?

Some people think that stretching is an unnecessary part of exercising. The truth is, if you aren’t stretching regularly, you might be increasing the risk of injury in the future. You’re also going to have at least a few joints or places of your body that are not as flexible and mobile as they should be. Stretches are a necessary component of exercise.

But what happens if you're not sure where your unique mobility limits are or how to remedy them? That’s where we come in!

Contact Park Rehab today if you would like to work with a movement specialist who can help you find the specific areas of your body that could benefit from a regular stretch routine.

Why are stretches so important?

Stretches are an important part of one’s daily routine, whether you’re exercising or not. Modern-day life involves a lot of sitting down, from our jobs to our hobbies. Over time, this can lead to tightness and shortening of muscles in areas of the body like the hip flexors, shoulders, chest, and ankles.

Here is a list of five benefits stretches can offer your body, especially if you practice doing them the right way and on a regular basis!

  1. Stretches before exercise helps to reach the optimum range of motion for the muscles. It helps strengthen the muscles as well. This is why stretching is a key focus during physical therapy.
  2. Stretches helps reduce muscle tension. It’s a therapeutic treatment by a physical therapist. You’ll feel the rewards of stretching during your daily routine, walking or lifting!
  3. Stretching enhances joint range of motion. It enables the body part to move easier. For more dynamic movement, stretching increases muscular coordination. Some physical therapy sessions focus on a muscle group instead of just one muscle for stretching.
  4. Stretching increases your blood circulation. Muscles require sufficient oxygen and nutrients in order to perform well. Stretching ramps up blood flow and transports oxygen and nutrients.
  5. Stretching also heightens your energy levels due to the increased circulation it brings. Learning to stretch properly will lead you to a more active lifestyle. In fact, according to results of a new systematic review, moderate-grade evidence seems to support strengthening and stretching exercises to help ease chronic neck pain.

Types of physical therapy stretches

Stretching involves the lengthening of connective tissues, a muscle, or a tendon. The goal of stretching is to improve range of motion, flexibility, and muscle elasticity.

A physical therapist will determine the best stretching exercises for your affected area and implement them into your treatment plan. They will also give you home exercises. These stretching exercises may include groin stretches, quadriceps stretches, knee stretches, calf stretches, and more.

Your physical therapist will incorporate different kinds of stretching into your routine or treatment. The five most common stretching exercises are:

  • Static
  • Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF)
  • Ballistic
  • Dynamic
  • Low Load

Static stretch physical therapy involves extending the muscle and maintaining it for a few seconds. To stimulate particular receptors in muscles, PNF involves holding and regulating techniques. This approach increases muscle length and reduces stress in the muscle. Ballistic stretch physical therapy is a rapid bouncing motion to stretch a muscle.

Dynamic stretching by a physical therapist entails stretching with motion at different speeds and distances. These movements are performed in a controlled and slow manner. Examples include torso swings, arms swings, and leg swings. The low load stretching technique is the incremental application of stress to facilitate connective tissue remodeling.

Your physical therapist will also show you how to do easy stretches with a towel at home. Knee stretches are very common in all age groups. That’s because knee injuries are common due to overuse or athletic injuries. Activities like running and biking can result in tight quadriceps muscles. Keep in mind that tight muscles can predispose you to injury. If so, quadriceps stretches will be implemented into a treatment plan.

Call our office for more information today

Whether you make the decision to begin seeing a physical therapist or not, stretching should be a part of your daily routine. Not only will you feel better and perform better, but you’ll also be able to better avoid injuries in the future. Call Park Rehab today to learn more about the benefits of stretching or to get set up with a physical therapist for a consultation.

Rest assured that when you walk through our office doors, you’re in good hands. We’ll make sure you leave understanding the right ways to stretch and take care of your body before, during, and after physical activity.