Stretching should be an important part of your personal maintenance routine.
Stretching during long periods of sitting mediates pain and stiffness, improves blood flow, mobilises nerve roots and improves metabolism of the internal organs.
However, it is important to stretch in the right way and at the right intervals to ensure that stretching is beneficial and has a positive impact.
We favour soft stretching, mild oscillation with intermittent deep stretch of no more than 5-10 seconds. Avoid pain, excess tension and fatigue. Here are three stretches that we recommend to clients in the clinic.
This position will potentially stretch, calf, hamstring, gluteals (buttock), back and shoulder muscles - additionally, vertebrae of middle back and neck, anterior ribs and sternum.
This is an effective shoulder joint mobilising technique. It can be assisted by resistance bands.
We find this stretch very affective for mobilising and loosening the groin muscle. It also improves mobility in the spine and sacroiliac joints. In addition, it is a safe way to stretch the hamstring muscles.
Quick anatomy and Physiology
The diagram below shows the active components of a muscle fibre contraction. During muscle relaxation, the actin and myosin components slide apart. Stimulation from a nerve changes the positive to negative ratio causing a contraction when the fibres slide closer together. Excess excitation of the nerve stimuli can lead to a persistent contractive state. This situation can be addressed as we have discussed previously.
Summary - To Take Away
- More effective to stretch after warming up
- Avoid excess force
- Regular stretching sessions 3-5 times per week 10-15 mins - add oscillation - avoid fatigue
- Benefits for injury prevention
Remember, stretching is part of effective muscle function. Effective function and lower injury risk requires a balance within the nervous system, coordination of opposing muscle groups and full joint range of motion.
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