The Importance of Routine Stretching for Preventing Sports Injuries

People often talk about how important stretching is. But many don’t do it because they don’t know how to perform it right, are too lazy, or don’t believe it can help them. But studies done by Harvard Medical School have shown that stretching regularly can make a big difference in a person’s mobility and flexibility. It can improve your agility and responsiveness when engaging in physical activities.


The Importance of Stretching


Stretching is a vital part of maintaining healthy muscles. It helps keep the muscles flexible, strong, and supple. These are essential to maintain your joints’ range of motion. Without stretching, your muscles can tighten and become inflexible. This tightness can make it difficult to move the joints correctly, leading to joint pain, strains, and muscle damage.


For instance, sitting in a chair all day can cause the hamstrings at the back of the thigh to become tight. This tightness can make it hard to straighten your knee or move your leg. Also, when tight muscles are suddenly asked to do something challenging that stretches them, like playing sports, the sudden stretching can hurt the muscles. Injured muscles may not be strong enough to support the joints, leading to joint injuries.


Regular stretching makes the muscles long, lean, and flexible. This flexibility ensures that exertion doesn’t put too much force on the muscles. Stretching is also essential for keeping your balance, which can help keep you from falling.


Starting a Routine


Starting a daily stretching routine can seem challenging, mainly because the body has many muscles. But it’s essential to focus on areas necessary for mobility, like the calves, hamstrings, hip flexors, and quadriceps. Additionally, stretching the shoulders, neck, and lower back can provide significant benefits. Aiming for daily stretching or at least three to four times per week is recommended.


Talk to a physical therapist about your stretching plan to ensure it fits your needs. A physical therapist can assess your muscle strength and provide a personalized stretching program. Before starting a new stretching routine, you should talk to your doctor first.


How to Stretch Properly


Research has shown that stretching cold muscles can hurt them, so the right way to stretch has changed. Before, people thought that stretching was needed to warm up muscles and get them ready for activity.


However, studies have shown that stretching before warming up can hurt the muscles. To warm up muscles, all it takes is five to ten minutes of light activity to increase blood flow to the area. Warming up makes tissues more pliable and amenable to change.


When stretching, it’s essential to hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds without bouncing. This is because bouncing can hurt you. During a stretch, you may feel tension in the muscle. But you should never feel pain. If you do feel pain, it could indicate an injury or damage to the tissue. In this case, stop stretching that muscle and consult with your doctor.


You can speak to the experts at Action Potential in Austin, Texas, to learn more about the importance of stretching. Call our main office today at (512) 991-0038 or our office within Lumos Fitness Collective at (512) 883-4036.

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