Saturday, 13 April 2013

Read ME before you STRETCH

Guidelines before getting your S-T-R-E-T-C-H   ON:

Lengthened muscles = increased range of motion of your joints = movement and freedom!

 Precautions: Do not Stretch Get your Stretch on IF:

IF the area has been recently injured
IF you feel any pain
IF there is any swelling or redness

  Five Major Stretching Guidelines

1.  Move slowly into your stretch to avoid injury
Stretching a cold muscle too quickly can result in injury - always take care to move slowwwwwly into a stretch to avoid this from happening* 
Ideally muscles should be warmed up first. (See: ways to warm up below)

2. Always pain free. 
Listen to your body, it will tell you the difference between finding your comfortable edge vs too much.
A great way to know if you've gone too far is:

3. Observe Your Breath.
Are you able to relax, taking nice long, slow breaths in and out? Or is your breath short and laboured? 
*You want the first one*

4.  Hold stretch comfortably for at least 30 seconds.
Smile. Release Resistance. Allow the muscle fibers to adapt to their new and happy length!
Stretching is easy - it's practicing the patience to hold the stretch that can be tricky - but oh so worth it!

5.  Stretches should be done at least twice a day - Every Day.
Experiment with holding your stretches for up to a five minutes for maximum results.

Ways to Warm Up the muscle you're going to stretch:

In a perfect world:  Stretching right after cardio workout or an infrared sauna, hot tub (etc.) 
                                At home: after hot shower or even better: an epsom salt bath.

In a Pinch:  Applying a heating pad for 5 minutes to the muscle being stretched (no heating pad? run a hand towel under nice warm water)

No props needed:  Contracting/flexing the muscle multiple times until it starts to feel tired is a quick n' easy way to prep the muscle for a good stretch.

Why Should I stretch?
Motivation to Stretch: 

One of my favourites: The Fuzz Speech by Gil Hedley
*heads up: the following video, while fascinating, does contain cadaver footage*

*perhaps five minutes from now you will see your body in a whole new way*

"every cat in the worrrrrrld gets up in the morning and stretchesss..."

Questions? Email me:

*disclaimer alert gotta do it: this post is dedicated to my clients who I have personally assessed and treated and therefore have given 'the go ahead' to stretch 'muscle in question.'  *if you are reading this and decide to stretch a muscle and you have not been instructed to by your health care practitioner you are doing so at your own risk ((*grin quickly turning into serious face*))