The goal of stretching is to increase the resting length of each muscle and tendons. Tight tissue places additional stress on joints increasing an individual’s chance of injury. Here are some tips that can improve the effectiveness of stretching.
Duration of Hold
How long you hold the stretch is very important. The purpose of holding a stretch is to provide the muscle/tendon time to interpret and respond to the stretch. After a specified amount of time the tissue begins to relax. Research varies of the exact amount of time; however, a good rule of thumb is to hold a stretch for at least 20 seconds. Advanced stretching includes “bouncing” (ballistic stretching). This is implemented once a muscle has established a good baseline of flexibility. It is also implemented once you have stretched out and adequately warmed up. This is called static stretching. The ballistic stretching helps to prepare the individual for high-end activity. Ballistic stretching should never be done before static stretching.
How often you stretch is also very important. The more often you stretch, the more you expose your body to change. Hence, the faster your flexibility improves. If you have tightness, stretching 2-3 times a day will create great changes. The reverse holds true. We get tight because we don’t stretch often. The two most important aspects of stretching are duration of hold and frequency of stretch.
When stretching, it is important to understand that muscles run in many different angles and our lives are active, full of direction change. Vary the angles of the joint you are stretching to help target different areas of the muscle. This will help ensure that all sections of the muscle are flexible, further decreasing your chance of injury.
Seeking the tightness
All of our bodies are different and even our right and left sides are different. We cannot all stretch the same. When stretching a particular muscle, vary the stretch (work the angles) looking for the areas that are the tightest. This is when you will find your body’s area of need. By finding our muscles’ tight areas your are finding your body’s deficits… the areas that are most prone to injury. So… “seek out the tightness”.
How to Wear a Backpack
Our back and neck health begins at an early age. Kids are lifting constantly and their backs are subjected to the same stressors as ours. But, since they are young and resilient they don’t feel the effects until the compounding wear finds them 20 years later. The growing amount of school work and the number of books involved can cause our children’s backpacks to exceed 15 pounds. It then becomes important for them to wear their backpacks properly. If it is too heavy or only worn on one side it can cause them to lean forward or to one side. This puts stress on our spine and surrounding muscles.
If your kids are having back or neck pain, please contact any of our offices for more information.