Things are heating up here in Fort Collins. The days are getting longer, the temperatures are rising, and most of us are feeling the itch to go outside and get that body moving. In our previous blog post, we discussed some tips and tricks for staying safe during our summer activities. The first tip we discussed was stretching. Our professional Fort Collins massage therapists and chiropractors know a thing or two about the importance of stretching! This post will explore some of the specific reasons why stretching can be so vital for the health and functioning of our muscles.
Revelation Chiropractic offers quality massage therapy in Fort Collins, which can be a great way to take a break from the summer heat and keep your muscles happy and healthy. In the meantime, let’s take a look at why stretching is so important.
Stretching and Flexibility
Part of the reason why there are so many health benefits to massage therapy (like increased blood flow and migraine relief) is because it assists in keeping your muscles strong and your joints mobile. Stretching similarly strengthens your muscles, which in turn keeps you healthy and strong.
When you go long stretches of time without stretching, your muscles will become more rigid. Indeed, your muscles will actually tense up and shorten. This isn’t a mere inconvenience: shortened and tense muscles increase your risk of various types of injury. When you call on a muscle that has become tense, it will be weak and struggle to extend in all the ways that are needed. So many of us these days work in jobs that require us to sit for much of the day. Such sedentary habits can cause certain leg muscles, such as the hamstrings, to tighten. If you jump into a physical activity that demands the full extension of those muscles or requires high mobility of the joints which those muscles support, then you will be at a much higher risk of getting hurt.
Cumulative Benefits of Stretching
It’s good practice to stretch each and every day. Stretching your muscles only on occasion will not prove particularly effective in keeping you strong and healthy. In fact, if you do not regularly stretch, it can even be harmful to stretch too rigorously before physical activity. It can be a better idea to do some reasonable level of cardio exercise that will get the blood moving to your muscles and only then launching into your stretching routine.
Any way you look at it, the real benefits of stretching come from doing it on the regular. Your muscles build up resilience and increase in flexibility due to healthy habits. This won’t happen automatically, and the short-term benefits can go away surprisingly quickly. It’s best to keep those muscles mobile and flexible. Stretching each day is an effective strategy, along with receiving regular massage therapy. Working with our massage therapists in Fort Collins can be extremely helpful. Our Body Insight Method, for instance, incorporates massage techniques that work to unglue your muscles, which decreases pain and tension.
Healthy Habits and Proper Technique
Getting into the habit of stretching each and every day will take some time. Cultivating that habit will be easier and more effective when you employ proper technique. Stretching can even be dangerous if you are not utilizing appropriate form. Fundamentally, proper stretching technique includes the following:
- Hold the stretch for 30 seconds
- Don’t bounce
- Look to feel tension, not pain
- Don’t overdo it
These are stretching 101 techniques. Always remember to be safe and discover what works best for you. Contact Revelation Chiropractic in Fort Collins for more advice on proper technique.