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Calendar >  Healthy Community Healthy You – Stretching – Lengthening Reward To Your Body

Healthy Community Healthy You – Stretching – Lengthening Reward To Your Body

By   /  September 18, 2022  /  No Comments

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Dr. Megan Johnson McCullough –Flexibility and range of motion in the joints is important for many reasons when it comes to the muscles and connective tissue. It is common to leave out this activity pre or post exercise, neglecting the time to stop and do this. Maybe some of the benefits will persuade you to add stretching to your routine. You don’t have to stretch your whole body every day, but at least focus on a couple problem areas that could use some attention. We subconsciously stretch all the time like when we reach for the ceiling upon rising out of bed. Reduced pain and stiffness is part of improved health. Stretching is the good type of self-inflicted pain.
Flexibility
Flexibility is the extensibility of the tissue around the joints that allows range of motion. Imbalances can
occur as the result of too much or lack of activity and injury. When the functional length of muscles is
compromised, control of the joint and performance with exercise or even daily life activities, can
become impaired. Tight muscles pull areas of the body away from their intended positions. For example,
time spent in front of a computer screen can lead to hunched posture. This is a result of the head
sticking out to see the screen which creates tight chest muscles that pulls the head and shoulders
forward (upper crossed syndrome).
Why stretch
When we stretch, we are creating tension that causes autogenic inhibition. We feel the tightness until
the muscle spindles activated start to relax. Over time, greater range of motion is produced due to the
muscle and tissue changes that can take place when the joints are now in a new position after being
stretched. Muscle soreness can be reduced by increasing blood flow to these target areas. Stretching
can reduce the likelihood of injury too. Stretching can also feel like a mental break when just ten
minutes is taken to really tune into the body.
Types of Stretching
There are six forms of stretching. The most common type is static stretching, which is when the position
is held for at least 30 seconds. Dynamic stretching is about movement. This is common in athletics. A
sprinter might do long strides in order to stretch for an upcoming race. Ballistic stretching is the bouncy
type. It is used in some athletic drills but can increase risk for injury. Active isolated stretching (AIS)
involves several repetitions of the holding the stretch for only 2 seconds. Each time the person can reach
a little further (like when reaching for the toes in a seated position). Myofascial release is when a foam
roller is used. Small back-and-forth movement is done on the roller, relieving the tension of the fascia
(connective tissue). Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) is assisted stretching when
someone else is applying resistance to push against.
Rewarding
Our body does a lot for us every single second of the day. Stretching is part of self-care. The two ends of
the spectrum can create muscle imbalances which involve either too much repetitive movement or too little movement at all. When we exercise, we are putting a positive demand on the body, but it must be
rewarded with stretching. Living in an uptight world is no fun, so don’t place this tightness upon your
body. Take a moment, stretch, and feel the benefits of better posture, range of motion, and better
health.

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