Many people think physical therapy is about strengthening, but that’s only one piece of the musculoskeletal health puzzle. Stretching also plays an invaluable role and delivers a wide range of benefits.
To underscore the benefit of incorporating stretching into your daily regimen, Jason LaMendola, PT, and the team of experienced physical therapy experts here at TLC Physical Therapy present the following information.
While your bones provide the foundation of your body, your soft tissues are what hold everything together, which makes their health paramount. One of the best ways to keep soft tissues, such as muscles, ligaments, and tendons, in top shape is to stretch them.
A good stretching regimen delivers myriad benefits, and we want to focus on some key ones here, which include:
This list merely highlights some of the more significant benefits of stretching your soft tissues as you have everything to gain and nothing to lose by stretching.
There’s been a lot of discussion about when you should stretch, and we feel the time of day doesn’t matter as much, so long as you’re stretching. Taking 5-10 minutes out of your day to perform stretching exercises is often all it takes to keep your connective tissues flexible.
To ensure that you create a consistent stretching regimen, we suggest you choose a specific time to devote to stretching each day. Perhaps it’s when you get up in the morning and want to limber up for the day. Or, stretching before you go to bed can help you relax and sleep better.
Stretching before and after exercise are good practices, but be mindful of overstretching cold muscles before you get active (this same holds true for stretching in the morning).
Generally, good stretching techniques focus on holding a stretch for at least 30 seconds. We also caution you against bouncing in your stretch, which can stress connective tissues. Finally, breathe deeply when you stretch so that your soft tissues relax.
If you’re not dealing with any specific injury that requires targeted stretching, a good stretching regimen should address most of your major muscle groups and joints, such as your:
If you are dealing with an injury or damaged soft tissues, you must work with us first so that we can show you the proper way to stretch. For example, if you have Achilles tendonitis or plantar fasciitis, particular stretches can help.
If you’re dealing with back or neck pain, stretching correctly is important as you don’t want to do more harm than good in these areas.
If you’d like help designing a good stretching regimen that will cater to your unique needs, contact one of our offices on the North and South Shores of Staten Island, in Englishtown, New Jersey, or Midtown Manhattan in New York City to schedule an appointment.