One of the biggest parts of physical therapy is stretching. In almost every physical therapy treatment plan, there is some incorporation of targeted stretches. Stretching can benefit anyone – from athletes looking to improve their technique to older folks looking to relieve chronic aches and pains. Stretching not only helps with flexibility improvement; it also is a natural way to provide pain relief and make any additional physical therapy treatments much easier. To learn more about incorporating stretching into your life, contact Orchard Park Progressive Physical Therapy today!
How will stretching benefit me?
There are a lot of benefits of stretching that are not always discussed. The top 5 benefits are:
- Helping you avoid injuries.
When muscles are tight or tense, the likelihood of injury increases. This occurs because that particular part of your body isn’t working at its peak performance, even though you might be. When you stretch, you’re loosening up your muscles, in addition to increasing range of motion and improving balance, which all factor into injury prevention. All of these factors can prevent you from making the types of moves that lead to injury, whether it’s coming down too hard on one foot, twisting your back further than you should, or taking a fall due to lack of balance.
- Providing relief to unexpected areas.
Sometimes we forget how interconnected our bodies are. It is obvious that if we experience back pain, we should stretch out our backs. However, sometimes stretching your legs during physical therapy can provide unexpected relief to your back, as well. In fact, your hamstrings, upper thighs, and hips can all play a big part in creating lower back pain relief. Likewise, improving your posture through stretching your torso can provide the kind of support you need to keep your spine from compressing, which helps you avoid shoulder and neck pain. Essentially, stretching different parts of your body can provide relief to places you may not have considered!
- Improving your range of motion.
Range of motion consists of how well your joints can move in all directions. This influences every movement you make! If you have a constricting condition, such as arthritis or an injury, your range of motion can be hindered. Whether it’s turning your head to see behind you while driving, or bending your knee freely while running, range of motion is crucial for both daily life and for fitness pursuits. Stretching can help reduce stiffness and increase flexibility, therefore improving your range of motion.
- Boosting your circulation.
Stretching can reduce stress, but that isn’t the only reason it’s good for your heart and your musculoskeletal system. In fact, stretching plays a key role in almost every aspect of your physical abilities. Tight muscles constrict available oxygen supply, essentially robbing themselves of the nutrients they need. Stretches help reverse the process. When you stretch frequently, you’ll also get the benefit of increased blood flow to your joints and throughout the body.
- Enhancing your performance.
This point is especially true for athletes. The more you condition your muscles, joints, and ligaments, the greater advantage you’ll have in your sport. For example, bodybuilders recover from their reps much quicker when they stretch as a cool-down. Golfers can achieve a longer reach by increasing their range of motion in their hips and shoulders. Swimmers can even out their strokes by perfecting their balance through stretching. If you are an athlete, stretching can play a crucial role in your performance.
Contact us for relief:
As you can see, there are many reasons why you may want to think about adding stretching into your lifestyle. There are numerous other health benefits to stretching, in addition to the ones we provided above. One of our dedicated physical therapists can help you figure out the best stretches for your lifestyle, whether it’s dynamic, static, pre-activity, or post-activity. Are you ready to gain some of the benefits of stretching? If so, contact our clinic in Orchard Park, NY today to get started!