How Stretching Can Improve Your Daily Life
Have you ever noticed how good stretching feels after a nap, first thing in the morning, or after vigorous physical activity?
That good feeling is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the numerous health benefits that regular stretching can provide.
Because of this, our physical therapists Honolulu, HI frequently suggest specific types of stretching exercises to supplement other physical therapy modalities.
The many ways stretching can benefit you
It is also quite common for a physical therapist to recommend various stretching exercises to people living with chronic pain.
Stretching is especially important when you become less mobile due to conditions like osteoarthritis. The less you move your joints, the more likely it is that your muscles and connective tissues will tighten up.
Stretching naturally complements PT recommendations such as walking, heat therapy, or massage therapy by increasing blood flow to painful joints and expanding your pain-free range of motion.
Muscle tightness is a common symptom of chronic pain syndromes. Muscle knots caused by syndromes such as fibromyalgia and myofascial pain syndrome can limit muscle movement and cause pain in other parts of the body. Stretching on a regular basis can help you loosen those painful knots.
The top 5 benefits of adding stretching to your PT plan
Since stretches offer so many important benefits, it’s not hard to see why we use them all the time in physical therapy.
Physical therapy Honolulu, HI can combine targeted stretches with strength-building exercises, massage therapy, ultrasound therapy, heat or cold therapy, and many other techniques to help you feel better and stay healthy.
We can also make sure you are doing the right stretches for your needs and show you how to perform them safely.
Below are five ways you can improve your health, comfort, and function by simply starting to stretch!
1. Improving flexibility
Are you frustrated because you don’t seem to have the same range of motion that you once did? A variety of musculoskeletal challenges can reduce your flexibility, creating stiffness and making certain motions uncomfortable or even impossible.
Stretching can gently coax the stiffness out of tight tissues. Depending on the cause and location of your stiffness, our physical therapist may prescribe exercises such as hamstring thigh hip, chest, shoulder, upper back, or bicep/tricep stretches to loosen you up and improve your mobility.
2. Preventing injuries
Athletic events, physical training, or demanding labor can leave you with a painful strain or sprain, especially if those tissues were “cold” when they were subjected to their burdens.
Gentle, careful stretching before a challenging activity can reduce your risk of acute injury. Stretching immediately after your activity will also remove any muscle tension that may have accumulated during your strenuous activity.
3. Improving blood circulation
Stretches don’t just relax your muscles; they also help them receive the nourishment they need.
That’s because when your muscles are tight and stiff, blood doesn’t flow through them as easily – and blood contains the oxygen and other nutrients necessary for optimal tissue health and performance.
You can stretch to ease that muscle tension and give your circulation a welcome boost. The same effect also helps your tissues rid themselves of unwanted, pain-causing substances such as lactic acid.
4. Relieving chronic pain
Speaking of pain relief, you may be surprised and delighted to discover how well stretching can work as a chronic pain management tool.
For instance, certain stretching exercises can undo the painful muscle knots associated with tension headaches or chronic pain syndromes such as fibromyalgia.
Stretches are also recommended to help control arthritis pain and stiffness. Our physical therapist can determine which kinds of stretches will best suit your needs.
5. Relieving stress
Emotional stress can often turn into physical stress in the form of muscle tension, sleep problems, and suppressed immune function. In other words, it can make you sick!
Stretches can help to release the accumulated tension in your body while also calming your mind.
Stretches that include mindfulness work (such as yoga) can prove especially helpful for easing the stress that might otherwise impair your health.
Ready to get started?
Are you interested in learning more about how stretching can help you live a happier, healthier life?
Please contact Moon Physical Therapy today to learn more and/or to schedule an appointment. We will be happy to assist you with all your stretching needs!