We’ve heard so many patients, friends, and family members ask us how to stretch.
Mostly, it’s the easy way out of a strenuous, heavy-breathing activity. Most would rather just hold a mild stretch, then call it a day and go back to the couch to watch the next episode of Stranger Things.
The strange thing (pun intended) is actually that stretching is not always the actual solution to your back problem, or your hip, neck, shoulder, big toe, and even your little pinky.
What is the difference between strengthening and stretching?
Strengthening: repeated muscle contractions until the muscle becomes tired. Stretching or Flexibility: slow, sustained lengthening of the muscle.
Our body operates with 2 support systems for our spine and joints: the passive and the active. Simply, the passive system consists of ligaments and the active system consists of your muscles.
Using the example of back pain, most people try remedies like stretching their hamstrings, hip flexors, and low back to alleviate the pain.
The trouble is with this method of thinking you end up wasting more time throughout the day, every day to achieve the relief you are looking for, if you even get it.
Stretching takes several minutes per muscle to relieve the tension it might have on our back and you can only isolate certain segments of the muscle.
However, some people also activate their muscles through core exercises like our abdominal series, corkscrews, and basking seals.
Provided the joints are moving correctly, we can use our muscles to create an active support around painful joints. These people know that this activates every cell in our muscles compared to stretching therefore getting more stability, more control, and ultimately feeling taller and stronger afterwards.
Stretching is ok and is needed from time to time, but if it’s a question of getting the most bang for your buck and spending more time doing the things you love to do, strengthen.
Please feel free to call us with any questions or if you would like to schedule a FREE consultation, one-on-one, with one of our expert therapists. We are always happy to hear from you!
Reach our Innovative Physical Therapy team at (904)-280-2002.