5 Ways Stretching Can Improve Your Overall Health
1. Stretching Increases Your Flexibility
Are you frustrated because you don’t seem to have the same range of motion that you once did? A variety of musculoskeletal challenges can reduce your flexibility, creating stiffness and making certain motions uncomfortable or even impossible. Stretching can gently coax the stiffness out of tight tissues. Depending on the cause and location of your stiffness, our physical therapist may prescribe exercises such as hamstring thigh hip, chest, shoulder, upper back, or bicep/tricep stretches to loosen you up and improve your mobility.
2. Stretching Help to Prevent Injuries
Athletic event, physical training, or demanding labor can leave you with a painful strain or sprain, especially if those tissues were “cold” when they were subjected their burdens. Gentle, careful stretching before a challenging activity can reduce your risk of acute injury. Stretching immediately after your activity will also remove any muscle tension that may have accumulated during your strenuous activity.
3. Stretching Gives Your Blood Flow a Boost
Stretching doesn’t just relax your muscles; it also helps them receive the nourishment they need. That’s because when your muscles are tight and stiff, blood doesn’t flow through them as easily — and blood contains the oxygen and other nutrients necessary for optimal tissue health and performance. Stretching to ease that muscle tension gives your circulation a welcome boost. The same effect also helps your tissues rid themselves of unwanted, pain-causing substances such as lactic acid.
4. Stretching Relieves Chronic Pain
Speaking of pain relief, you may be surprised and delighted to discover how just well stretching can work as a chronic pain management tool. For instance, certain stretching exercises can undo the painful muscle knots associated with tension headaches or chronic pain syndromes such as fibromyalgia. Stretching is also recommended to help control arthritis pain and stiffness. Our physical therapist can determine which kinds of stretches will best suit your needs.
5. Stretching Eases Stress
Emotional stress can often turn into physical stress in the form of muscle tension, sleep problems, and suppressed immune function. In other words, it can make you sick! Stretching exercises can help to release the accumulated tension in your body while also calming your mind. Stretches that include mindfulness work (such as yoga) can prove especially helpful for easing the stress that might otherwise impair your health.
Stretching as Part of a Physical Therapy Program
Since stretching exercises offer so many significant benefits, it’s not hard to see why we use them all the time in physical therapy. Our physical therapist can combine targeted stretches with strength-building exercises, massage therapy, ultrasound therapy, heat or cold therapy, and many other techniques to help you feel better and stay healthier. We can also make sure that you’re performing the right stretches and show you how to perform them safely. Are you ready to stretch your way to a happier, healthier way of life? Contact us to learn more and schedule an appointment.