Knowing our patients are an active bunch, we decided to bring you some stretching techniques that all patients can utilise when exercising.
Most of you would have been prescribed stretches by our osteos as part of your rehab already, but in case you have forgotten, here are some other benefits of stretching to get you motivated to incorporate them into your daily plan:
Increased energy levels
Better range of motion of the joints
Greater circulation of blood to various parts of the body
Relaxation and stress relief
Enhanced muscular coordination
Greater sense of well-being
The two types of stretching that we recommend are listed below. For a greater understanding of what stretches you should be doing for your unique situation, please ask our experienced osteos.
(also referred to as relaxed stretching)
A passive stretch is one where you assume a position and hold it with some other part of your body, or with the assistance of a partner or some other apparatus. A really common example of passive stretching is to have the stretcher lie on their back on the floor while a partner raises their leg and holds it in position to stretch the hamstrings.
Other passive stretches include using a doorway to stretch arms and pectorals; using a hand, belt, or towel to hold arm and leg stretches; and using a stretch machine.
Passive stretching can be used to increase flexibility and is useful in relieving spasms in muscles that are healing after an injury. Relaxed stretching is also very good for "warming down" after a workout and helps reduce post-workout muscle fatigue, and soreness.
(also referred to as static-active stretching)
Active stretching is the opposite to passive stretching as muscles are stretched using the contraction of an opposing muscle group rather than assistance from external forces. An example of an active stretch would be to stand upright and slowly lift one leg and then hold the position for up to 15 seconds. Active stretches are usually quite difficult to hold and maintain for more than 10 seconds and rarely need to be held any longer than 15 seconds.
The major benefit of static stretching is a concentrated focus on increasing flexibility and range of motion in the joints. This can also be achieved with passive stretching, but not to the same degree and potential. The best times to use active stretching techniques are just after your workout, when you're warmed up and ready to relax, or any time when you're not going to exercise.
It is a mine field knowing what stretches to do for each muscle group, and it’s important to get it right for each individual. If you need further advice on stretching, contact us at the clinic to find out if you are performing the correct stretches for each muscle group.