Are you stretching?
Since it’s summer, we’ve moving more with gardening or training for our summer races or just soaking up the glorious warm season. Have you noticed your muscles tightening or feeling irritated more than usual? Maybe a nagging ache or pain? What is up?
What is your “post movement” routine? Are you stretching? Drinking enough water? Doing some self-release work and rolling?
What would you say if I told you that stretching is just as important as your daily exercise? Stretching increases your flexibility, which helps prevent injury and improves your range of motion, and elongates those contracted muscles.
We tend to overlook this simple step in our body’s health. Sometimes we’re on tight schedules and skip it because we need to get on with our day. Sheesh! We made time for exercise, and now we’re supposed to stretch, too?
But treating your body shouldn’t be forgotten! Sore muscles lead to decreased performance and overall soreness, and that leads to injury!
Active Isolated Stretching (AIS)
Active Isolated Stretching (AIS) is something many athletes do regularly, and what many health professionals recommend, myself included! Stretching releases tightness and irritation in the muscles and therefore lengthening them. The muscle you isolate is stretched for no more than two seconds at a time, and repeated up to ten times. The short span of stretching boosts your range of motion, and the repetition helps blood and oxygen circulate in order to improve flexibility. We are changing the old paradigm of that 20-30 second stretch hold. Science has proven that holding a stretch for long periods of time actually blocks the flow of O2 and blood to the restricted areas, causing more harm that imparting the good.
As you know I provide bodywork to my clients, and this helps in both pain relief and restoring injured muscles back to health by removing scar tissue and adhesions — taking restrictions out of the way so the body can recover and realign. I believe the body functions as a whole so I approach each of my clients in this way.
I have created a system with a support structure to alleviate pain, giving you an alternative to medications or surgery, and allows you to be as healthy as possible so you can really dive into living.
Stretching and self-release aren’t the only things that helps the body feel good. Hydration is one of the easiest ways to help your muscles function to their fullest. Not drinking enough is one of the biggest habits! Drink half your weight in ounces a day, at least! Yes, you read that correctly. Your body needs water to keep the muscles ready for working smoothly and strong enough to protect the rest of your body. More water is needed if you’re training for something like a race or competition, or if you’re in warm weather and being active. If you’re a big coffee or tea drinker, or if you enjoy your adult beverage in the evenings, you’ll want to add another 10-20 ounces to cover that deficit.
Fuelling your body is paramount in recovery and performance! Focus on nourishing the body with whole nutrient-dense foods. In a hurry? Make a smoothie! A nutritious, anti-inflammatory diet helps prevent pain or problems caused by junky foods. Lastly, in addition to your regular stretching routine and eating well, keep performing strengthening exercises to get your body working like the powerhouse it is meant to be!
If you want more information on how stretching can improve your overall wellness, drop me a line! If you’re ready to treat your body to my bodywork or learn how a whole foods, plant based diet can improve your level of wellness, click > Therapies & Info.