Are you feeling tight? Do feel like you have limited motion?
If so, are you stretching?? Are you making a stink eye while you stretch??
Before Imagine PT! (that’s quite the stink eye!)
In order for the human body to move in the most optimal way our joints must have the ability to move through their full range. Limited motion in our joints may be due to the joints themselves or even more common the muscles which surround it. Muscle tightness is one of the most common reasons for limited motion and as it’s so aptly named the reason for the tightness or “pull” that you feel when you move a certain way. So what do we do about this muscle tightness? We stretch!
But what makes a good stretch? What should you feel? What’s good and what’s bad? How long do I hold the stretch? These are all very common questions!
A good stretch is one in which you feel a slight pull or tensioning of the muscle without any pain with the goal being for the “pull” to lessen as you stretch. If pain or discomfort is present, you should back off of the stretch. We are blessed with a body that has pain receptors and so when they “speak” we should definitely listen! We want the “pull” or “stretchy” feeling but we don’t want the pain! The length at which you should hold the stretch depends on your age. In research performed by Bandy, it was determined that 30 seconds is the optimal stretch time for improving flexibility and range of motion. Any stretch held for less than 30 seconds was not enough to get a long lasting effect. In a separate study by Feland it was determined that individuals over the age of 65 should hold stretches for 60 seconds. As we get older, our bodies (especially our muscles) change and so we have to give them a little more TLC!
The simple answer to tightness and limited motion is this: stretch, holding it for 30 or 60 seconds depending upon your age. Most importantly, if you’re making a stink eye when you’re stretching, you’re doing too much! So come on in to see us and let’s get stretching! Just remember to leave your stink eye at home! You won’t need it because we’re all smiles here at Imagine PT!
After visiting Imagine PT! (All smiles here!)
Bandy WD, Irion JM. The effect of time on static stretch on the flexibility of the hamstring muscle. Physical Therapy. 1994;74:845-852.
Feland JB, et al. The Effect of Duration of Stretching of the Hamstring Muscle Group for Increasing ROM in People aged 65 years and Older. Phys Ther.2001: 81:1110 – 1117.
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