Stretching – Ways to Avoid Injury and Keep in Shape
June 18, 2017
Most sports medicine professionals can all readily agree that those athletes who take the time to really care for their bodies experience far fewer injuries than those who act reckless with regard to their health. It is really important to remember exactly what a benefit stretching provides when you are trying to decide if spending time stretching is worth it. The exact benefits are almost limitless, however there are some specific benefits that virtually all athletes should experience.
Amongst the benefits of stretching there are the improvements to your circulations, range of motions, posture, overall performance and even your ability to relax after working out. However this is not all that stretching provides, it also helps you decrease the tension in muscles and can even assist in reducing overall joint stiffness that can occur after a work out. The overall benefit of stretching is possible to achieve in as little as 10 minutes before starting an actual workout, which makes it very easy to work into any routine that you are exploring.
By properly ensuring that you are stretching, you are not only providing the benefits to your body, but you are also able to reduce the number of times you are forced to go to the doctor over an injury. Most athletes would rather be playing their favorite sport rather than sitting in a doctor’s office being treated. However, while most athletes would prefer not to spend time being treated, it is still important to seek treatment for all injuries that occur rather than leaving them unattended.
With proper attention paid to stretching in addition to an appropriate exercise routine it is possible to greatly reduce the number of injuries that occur. While not all injuries can be avoided by stretching, it can help to reduce the severity of many injuries as well as reducing the overall number of injuries. It is highly important to work with a coach or other sports medicine professional to develop a routing for stretching that is most effective for your individual lifestyle as well as body type.
Especially important for athletes is discussing their workout habits and any previous injuries when selecting a stretching routine. By carefully choosing the proper exercises and stretches it is possible to help protect against further injury, and really tailor the workout to your exact individual needs. However, just merely stretching to stretch can sometimes void the benefits if the stretches are not the proper type. For example, if you are a runner and focus more emphasis on stretching your arms you are going to see fewer benefits than someone who stretches their back as well as legs before actually running.
Deciding with your sports medicine team the appropriate exercises, number of repetitions and all other pertinent details of your stretching program also helps to ensure that your entire team knows exactly what you are doing, and can make modifications and adjustments based upon what you need as an individual, as well as what you need to improve your overall athletic ability. It is very important to carefully select exercises that are appropriate for your needs at the time of the warm up as well. This means specifically, if you have an injury to your hamstring muscle, you should give it some rest for a couple of days at a minimum.
This brings to light the importance of talking to your doctor and learning to listen to your body. If you feel as if the stretches you are doing cause you more harm than they help, it is time to rework your routine and change how you are treating your body. Remember, changing the types of stretches that you do is perfectly acceptable especially when you are healing from an injury. Working to keep your body in the best overall condition possible is your ultimate goal and working towards that goal often means having to make adjustments to a routine, often at the last minute.