Whetter you want to stretch a particular body part or stretch to improve a particular movement pattern, help with rehabilitation of an injury, prevent injuries, improving posture, improve range of motion, reduce stiffness or soreness, reduce aches and pains, or prepare for activity. Stretching holds an important role in any fitness program for young and old.
Limitations in range of motion interferes with movement patterns of normal of activities daily living such as stair climbing, limitations in range of motion can cause changes in the way you walk, run and can cause increased wear and tear on joint. Stretching is an essential and fundamental component of rehabilitation as it promotes restoration normal joint function.
The application of a stretching exercise such as frequency, intensity, duration, must be carefully modified to meet the needs of the injured tissue and the wellness or fitness goal of the individual to avoid producing excessive inflammatory response, formation of scar tissue, and painful tissue should not be aggressively stretched.
Aging and Flexibility
Appropriate joint range of motion allows you to move better through life. Aging can cause a stiffening of connective tissues, cartilage ligaments and tendons. Appropriate stretching exercises combined with muscle strengthening, balance and coordination exercises can prevent aches, pains and discomfort many older adults complain about.
Sedentary lifestyle, work style and habits, muscle length, muscle strength and resting muscle tone, and previous injuries can effect posture. Ideal posture cannot be attained without addressing these issues. Poor postures can lead to acute and chronic headaches, back, neck and arm pain, can lead to spinal fractures when low bone density is present.
Many chronic neck, shoulder and back pain complains are often or in part due to a lack of normal movement, lack of flexibility is often a factor in chronic back pain.
Low back pain
Back pain is the most common reason people visit their doctors and a significant cause of lost work time and the interruption of personal, family and recreational life. A lack of flexibility, shortened or tight muscles are often a factor in chronic back pain. A good stretching program is beneficial in the treatment of low back pain and in the prevention of low back pain.
Types of stretching exercises
There are various types of stretches that can help improve function, including static and active, stretching techniques Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation or PNF, and ballistic stretching. A health and fitness professional can help determine and assist with choosing and in performing appropriate stretching techniques and develop a stretching program to meet your unique need.
Stretching programs and considerations
Certain medical conditions and injuries require Medical Clearance prior to a stretching program to avoid further injury or increasing pain, and avoid inflammation.
Warming up or not warming up prior to stretching
Stretching for the whole body or major muscle groups
Stretching for improving posture
Stretching for workplace settings for static work and dynamic work
Stretching for rehabilitation of injuries
Stretching for sports