What makes stretching so beneficial? What does it really do for your muscles and connective tissues? Why is it so vital to your health?
Here’s a look at what’s going on behind the scenes every time you stretch.
Stretching: What it Does
Muscles help you move by expanding and contracting. Sarcomeres, the smallest functional unit in a muscle, achieve this function by changing their length. The longer your muscles are, the more flexible they become.
When you stretch, you pull your muscles out to their full-length sarcomere by sarcomere until you begin prompting your connective tissue to take up the slack. This forces mechanical adaptations, which are followed by neural adaptations.
It’s a little like slow, low-impact strength training. When you stretch, your body tries to resist the change in muscle length. The more you do it, the less your body reacts.
Stretching Trains the Nervous System
Nerves complain when your muscles stretch beyond the range of motion they’re used to. This mechanism exists to prevent you from tearing muscle fibers. Torn muscle fibers cause strain and sprains. Yet, if your muscle fibers are tight and short, they are more likely to tear.
Regular stretching lengthens muscles and increases the range of motion they can engage in without tearing. So, your nervous system tolerates more muscle extension before it starts offering pain signals. This allows you to tolerate a greater degree of movement at precisely the point that your body can participate in those movements.
It Helps You Release Trigger Points
When your muscles contract too many times, either because they’re consistently tight due to stress or are overworked with repetitive motion, they can “lock up,” forming a knot or a trigger point that refuses to release. The knot forms right in the middle of the sarcomere.
Those trigger points can be persistently painful, and the knot will tend to complain every time you move those muscles.
Stretching can help you “unstick” these points by promoting blood flow to the area and by relaxing and lengthening the surrounding muscle.
Proper Stretching is Key
You can only reap the benefits of stretching if you stretch properly. Your limbs must be in the proper position. The stretch must be gentle yet deep.
If you don’t perform a stretch correctly, it either won’t have much impact or, if you’re trying to correct pain and soreness, it will worsen the pain and soreness.
Working with a guided stretch therapist solves each of these problems. You will always know you’re performing the stretch correctly because your therapist will be there to correct any issues. You’ll be able to ease into a deeper, more relaxing stretch because the therapist is helping you move your body in different ways that would be hard to attain on your own.
Ready to get started? Schedule an appointment with one of our therapists today. You can live a pain-free lifestyle and attain a full range of motion in your arms, legs, back, and neck. Let us show you how!
REACH’s 2 STEP APPROACH TO RECOVERY THERAPY
RELAX – RESTORE – RECHARGE
Step 1: Identify Your Problem Areas
- It all starts with your Mobility Risk Factor Assessment called .
- This helps us identify the root cause of your current problem areas due to:
– Life’s Daily Wear & Tear
– Your Aches/Pain
– Muscle Imbalances & Weakness
– Flexibility/Mobility Limitations
– Posture Issues
- A Mobility Risk Factor Assessment is a MUST before starting any Stretch & Recovery Therapy Program.
Step 2: Targeted Recovery Therapy
- Your Mobility Risk Factor Assessment helps us create a Personalized Recovery Therapy Plan that targets your problem areas which will Shorten your Recovery Time.
- Each of our Stretch & Recovery sessions are a balanced blend of Corrective Stretch, Percussion, Compression, CBD and Heat
- Risk Factor Re-Assessments:
– Suggested every 30-60 days
– See your improvements
– Realize the benefits of Stretch & Recovery