Preparing to Exercise

By Stretching

The Importance of Stretching

I often see people at the gym who dive right in to an exercise routine full throttle despite not working out for months, years or even decades. What is the predicted result...injury, soreness, discouragement and burn-out. So how can we prevent these things from happening? The key is to slowly build up your exercise tolerance. You may want to consult a personal trainer or your doctor before beginning, but slow and steady is typically better for most people. Here are some key points to remember.

A Few Things to Remember!!!

  1. Never stretch a cold muscle - it is essential that you warm up your muscles before stretching. A cold muscle that is stretched too much can be injured potentially leading to further damage while working out. The best time to stretch is after a work out when the muscle is warm.
  2. Never bounce - bouncing on a cold muscle or a warm muscle can lead to micro tears in the fibers. This injures and weakens the muscle.
  3. Stretch slowly - ease in to your stretch. Slow and steady leads to a better safer stretch.
  4. Hold your stretch for 30-40 seconds - It's been shown that results last longer when we hold the stretch for 30-40 seconds. When done for shorter amounts of time the results are less flexibility or range of motion.
  5. Repeat the stretch 2-3 times per session - You can stretch several times per day, especially if you have problem areas or a chronic injury that needs some work.

Please consult your Chiropractor, Doctor, Personal Trainer or Physical Therapist for specific stretches for problem areas.

The Benefits of a Proper Stretching Program

  1. Increased Flexibility
  2. Increased Strength
  3. Decreased stiffness or tightness
  4. Less risk of Injury
  5. Better physical performance
  6. Prepares you for more intense exercise with a decreased risk of injury!

Here are a few specific stretches that can be done at the office.

Stretching Series - Carpal Tunnel
Stretching Series - Front Hip and Quad
Stretching Series - Front Hip
Stretching Series - Low Back: Gluteal from a chair
Stretching Series - Low Back: Gluteal
Stretching Series - Low Back: Hamstrings
Stretching series - neck, shoulders, and "tension headaches"
Stretching Series - calf and achilles tendon

The American Health Coach

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