follow Tripti Gyan on TwitterTripti Gyan on LinkedInLike Tripti on FacebookRead Tripti Gyan's Blog Check out Tripti Gyan's Pinterest PageGoogle Plus



Contact Me:
Tripti Gyan MCSP HCPC Reg
Chartered and State Registered Physiotherapist
Nottingham YMCA Health and Fitness
4 Shakespeare Street
Nottingham
NG1 4FG (map)

Tel: 07866 464 385 (Within the UK)
Tel: +44 (0) 7866 464 385(Outside the UK)

Email: tripti@triptigyan.com

The Benefits of Stretching

Stretching is a component of fitness that is often overlooked when designing training programmes. Many of us work out at a gym using cardio equipment and weights, or through playing sports without a second thought about stretching, something which is astonishing when we look more closely at the long term benefits that can be gained through a few simple stretches. Stretching is an integral part of a physiotherapist's role as it has been proven to:

  • Increase soft tissue flexibility
  • Increase joint range of movement
  • Improve circulation
  • Reduce the risk of injury
  • Alleviate stress

All good reasons to spare 5 minutes to hold a pose or two, you'll agree.

Why physiotherapists recommend stretching

stretching to avoid injury

In basic terms a muscle's job is to contract and relax. While most of the exercising we do puts an emphasis on the contraction of muscles, stretching exercises play an important role on balancing this out - ensuring that muscles don't become too tight or even worse, tear.

There are different types of stretching exercises: Static and Dynamic. Static stretching involves stretching a muscle and holding it, whereas dynamic stretching involves moving that muscle while you stretch it.

Usually the benefits of dynamic stretching are best achieved before an activity, for example running. Static stretches on the other hand are best done after an activity when your muscles are warm and therefore more compliant to undergo sustained lengthening. It is important with stretching, as it is with any form of exercise, that you warm up first. Stretching a cold muscle can be like trying to stretch a frozen elastic band. It's best to get some blood flowing to the areas that you are going to stretch and warm up before you start to exercise.

Stretching exercises should never cause pain. You should feel a slight pull and mild resistance initially, but never take it to the point where the movement causes real discomfort. Flexibility will gradually increase over time, so ensure that you repeat the exercises regularly rather than trying to stretch further on fewer occasions. Overstretching can be just as problematic as not stretching, causing strains and injuries to your muscles.

It's important to breathe whilst performing stretching exercises, as this can help your body relax so you enjoy the stretch whilst taking the muscle or joint further into range. Hold a stretch for at least 10-15 seconds to loosen a muscle and repeat two to three times. If your goal is to increase flexibility, then you'll want to hold the stretch for 30 seconds or longer.

Why not ask your physiotherapist during your next appointment for advice on the best combination of static and dynamic stretches to suit your body and your goals. For the finest physiotherapy in Nottingham, contact TG Physiotherapy Care on 07866 464 385 or leave your details to request a call back.