Listen up folks!
fisiocrem sponsored athlete (and physiotherapist – seriously is there anything this gal can’t do?!) took five with us to discuss the question on everyone’s lips… Is stretching really that important?
Keep on scrollin’ for all the juicy details from our mean, green (ex) rowing machine (and now triathlete but that just doesn’t have the same ring to it, okay!), Rhiannon Hughes.
Hand up. Confession. I will admit I am a Physiotherapist, this however does not change my answer (in fact I even practice what I preach!)
Whether you are an athlete or an office worker, stretching will benefit you!
It helps to keep the muscles long, lean and strong to allow the flexibility and range of motion around a joint. How else will you be able to kick the football or reach for that saucepan in the bottom cupboard without risking a sprain, strain or worse? *gasps*
With the majority of the population seated for work, the hamstrings in back of the leg and hip flexors at the top of the front thigh tighten in a shortened position. Doing this day in and out results in a shortening of these muscles.
If someone is then to play afternoon sport or vacuum the house the required muscle length is not available. This in turn will make you susceptible to injuries. And we all know how much #hurtingsucks!
So, when and where do you stretch to reduce your risk of injury?
Stretching can be performed before and after activity or throughout the office day for a sedentary person.
Generally before activity, dynamic stretching, like leg and arm swings or back rotations (depending on the activity being carried out) are useful. This helps to mimic movements that are likely to replicated say during a soccer game to prepare them.
Post activity, static stretching is generally more beneficial. This involves holding say a quadriceps (front of leg) stretch for 30 seconds without bouncing.
Critical areas for mobility in your lower extremity include calves, hamstrings, hip flexors, gluteals and quadriceps. Stretching your neck, low back and shoulders is also important. These should be performed at least 3-4 times a week.
Top tip: visit your local Physiotherapist for a tailored program.
Lastly, keep at it!
Flexibility takes weeks to months to improve, but it’s worth it (just ask those sitting on the bench or moaning about pain).