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Stretching Done Right (What You Don't Know Could Hurt You)

by Dr. Greg Butts

Stretching properly can go a long way to help avoid musculoskeletal injuries, but most people don’t know where to start.

Stretching Done Right

Stretching Done Right

When you stretch is just as important as how you stretch. Most people do some sort of stretching before they are active, but this is not very effective and can actually be detrimental to their results. When you stretch a muscle, you are reducing its potential. For example, a soccer player who stretches his legs before he plays will not be able to kick the ball as hard or run as fast. The most effective way to prepare for any physical activity is to warm up the muscles that will be used. This means doing the activity in a slower, less strenuous way until the muscles are ready. A good way to measure this is by continuing to warm up until you have started to sweat.

The most common time for a muscle injury to occur is actually after a strenuous activity. Therefore, the most important time to stretch is immediately after any physical activity. When you’re done with an activity, your muscles are tired and full of lactic acid from being used. They try to protect themselves from being injured by tightening and inflaming the area around them. Using the muscles further can cause tearing and spasm. The best way to prevent this is to stretch immediately so the muscles don’t have a chance to get “cold” and tight.

After a physical activity, the only type of stretching that should be done is static stretching. This means that you engage the stretch and hold it without moving or bouncing. All static stretches should be held for at least 15-20 seconds, and for maximum effectiveness, do three repetitions of each stretch.

Muscle injuries can lead to imbalances and structural problems with your body, but simply doing the right stretch at the right time will prevent you from having very serious problems down the road. Prevention is a big part of Chiropractic, and that starts with keeping the musculoskeletal system healthy, so consult one of the Doctors or Assistants at Batson Chiropractic Group to make sure you’re doing the most effective stretches for the activity you’ve engaged in.

Call (615) 751-0958 today to schedule an appointment with any of our 5 experienced doctors!

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