Being a former dancer and acrobat I often forget that those people that have never done a regular sport have no idea how to stretch.
Stretching not only relaxes all of the muscles, but it releases all of the nerves and blood vessels so they can work at their optimal level. Emotions are also stored in your muscles so as you stretch it can be tender, sometimes painful. Remember this is only transitional and it will pass. Taking magnesium is recommended for everyone to help their muscles and nerves and stress levels relax and make the stretching easier.
Note; Anyone with a kidney disorder or on medication for one please consult your doctor before taking Magnesium. Everyone else is fine.
The following stretch is for anyone. If you read it and cannot do it then don’t. Use your own brain to decide if it is ok for you to do.
If you exercise then stretching before any exercise for 10 minutes and after exercise for 10 minutes is highly recommended for anyone. This warms up and cools down the muscles to ensure that you do not injure yourself.
While stretching, pay attention to both sides of the body and any asymmetry or difference between both sides.
The aim is to find a balance and also make you more aware of your body. Did you know it takes around one and a half minutes to properly stretch a muscle so it can lengthen to a new length? Below is a simple guide to stretching but you can create your own if you like.
1. Feet and hands – shake both hands and feet one at a time to warm them up. Then circle them 5 times in one direction and 5 times in the other. Repeat on both sides
2. Stretch your calf muscles by standing facing a wall or door and place your heel on the floor and your toes up the wall. On the same leg draw that hip closer to the wall until you feel a stretch. Keep the leg straight. Hold for at least 10-20 seconds then slightly bend the leg to stretch the other calf muscle. Repeat on the other leg.
3. Stretch the front of your legs or quads by standing on one leg and bending the other food back toward the buttocks. Hold at least 10-20 seconds. Repeat on the other leg. Only do this if you are comfortable standing on one leg.
4. Circle your hips one way and then the other to loosen them up. Do the same with the lower back
5. With your feet hip width apart, twist your body from side to side to warm up the mid back
6. Circle your neck in one direction 3 times lightly and then the other. Bend your head side to side and stretch the muscles of the neck around. If you have chronic neck problems then take this gently and easy.
7. With your hands on your shoulders roll your shoulders back 5 times and the forward 5 times. Then circle your whole arm straight in one direction and then the other 5 times.
8. Bend your elbow and place the hand behind your back to stretch the back of your arm or tricep muscle. Repeat other arm. Then hold onto a door handle or wall (about 90 degrees) and turn your body the opposite direction to stretch your bicep or front muscle of your arm.
9. Side stretches placing one arm straight in the air above your head near your ear and the other one on your hip. Stretch to the side that your elbow is on your hip and hold for at least 10-20 seconds. Repeat other side.
10. Touch the floor and stretch the hamstrings or back of your legs. Bend your knees and squat down to the floor. Sit down and place your legs out in front of you. One leg bent the other straight. Stretch your hamstrings further from at least 30 seconds and breath deeply. Try contracting the front leg muscles or quads, which help the hamstrings or back of your legs relax and stretch further.
11. Still lying on your back with your head preferably on a pillow with both knees bent practice your core stability exercises including diaphragm breathing, abdominal, pelvic floor and low back muscle exercises. Before you sit or stand up activate all core muscles. Finished.
When finished exercising quickly retest each exercise for a few seconds to feel the difference. Note any tightness in areas that was not there before the exercise. These are your compensations and being aware of them makes you more in tune with your body, more able to correct them and reduce the incidence of injuring yourself.
These basic stretches are as I said – basic.
To make an appointment with one of our Osteopathic Doctors for a more comprehensive stretching regime tailored to you book online at www.HealthState.com.au or contact 0404001172
Disclaimer: The content of this blog is informative only and is my opinion. It does not constitute medical advice. Always consult your GP or medical specialist before changing or coming off any medication.