Celebrity Yoga Instructor, Kristin McGee, demonstrates how to stretch safely, and gets Peter K to touch his toes, on 5 Minutes to Fitness+ TV.more »
Stretch to maintain joint health, flexibility and decrease injuriesmore »
We should definitely be stretching everyday to prevent injury and maintain flexibility. But when is the best time?
As a physical therapist I’ve always told my clients to do a gentle 5 minute warm-up, do your workout, then stretch. If you’re playing a sport, then warm up, stretch, play, then stretch again.
I don’t stretch before my band workouts or runs. I do stretch after every workout and during runs, when my iliotibial band tightens up.
Here are some essential stretching guidelines:
- Stretch your legs and spine everyday to maintain good joint health.
- You should feel a gentle pull, not pain while stretching.
- Hold each stretch for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times. Stretching seems to have the most benefit after a workout when the muscles are warmed up.
- If you are a runner and already stretch before or after, keep doing that. Studies show more injury if you change your stretching routine.
Why Stretch- It will help you maintain joint range of motion and bath the joint in beneficial fluids. If we don’t consistently take our joints through their full range we will lose flexibility as we age and be more prone to injury.
Some of my clients complain of heel and arch pain regardless if they’re training or walking in heels. This is a quick overview of one of the causes of heel and arch pain. However, your best option is to call your physical therapist or sports medicine doctor.
Tightness of the achilles tendon and plantar fascia (see above) can cause pain in the heel and arch of the foot called “plantar fasciitis”. The achilles tendon attaches to the calf muscles. Stretching these structures will decrease the pressure to the heel and have less pull on the arch. Here’s a good stretching guide from the mayo clinic. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times per day and after training. Do the stretches everyday. If your symptoms worsen, stop and call your health care professional.
As a physical therapist people ask me how to stretch their backs all the time. Then they show me how they stretch. 95% of the time they’re doing the wrong stretches.
The picture above is the “good” stretch for people who sit for long periods, have stiffness in their back and generally speaking, are younger than 55. If you are over 55 send me an email for an appropriate stretch
Here’s how to do it:
- Sit tall with your butt touching the back of the chair
- Feet should be flat on floor
- Clasp hands behind your back and arch your back over the chair
- You should not feel pain, just a gentle stretch
- Hold this position for 5 seconds and repeat 3 times. Repeat throughout the day
*If this stretch hurts your back, stop and consult a health care professional you trust. Physical therapists and chiropractors are great resources.
Recently a client came to see me for shin splints (shin pain) right before a triathlon. Here’s why they might occur:
- Too much exercise (activity) too soon
- Not stretching daily
- Tight achilles tendon (calf)
- Worn sneakers or improper footwear (think flip flops)
What to do:
- Do the stretch above daily and especially before and after exercise
- Stretch your calves
- Hold all stretches for 30 sec (if your knees are pain free)
- Cut back on the exercise that’s causing the pain for 1 week
- If you’re running try biking or swimming intermittently
- If it doesn’t get better see a physical therapist and of course you can email me with your physical therapy question
www.peterkfitness.com for more…..
Many people do this to stretch their hamstrings and back. Don’t, because:
- it over-stretches the low back (can lead to injury)
- It doesn’t isolate the hamstrings enough to make it effective
- the average person doesn’t need to stretch their back forward
Try this safe stretch for your back instead
I remember early in my physical therapy career, I saw a young man who had chronic foot pain and numbness. He had seen doctors, chiropractors and therapists who treated his foot without any results. I took him through a thorough evaluation and asked key questions like:
- Where are your symptoms?
- When are they worse?
- Does any position or activity give help to lessen your symptoms or make them worse?
Every week I meet people who have hurt themselves on the Wii Fit. I do think it’s a fun way to get more active. The problem is people do too much too soon. Among the injuries I hear about are tennis elbow, strained knee with lunges and back pain. Remember this when starting any fitness program:
- start slowly
- don’t try to perform new movements without practice
- stretch before and after
- eat great!
- have fun
First: find a compelling reason to do it. Don’t run to lose weight. A better reason is to do a 5K charity run, or be a great mentor to your kids
Second: start slow. Walk/run first. Example- walk 2 minutes, run 1 minute. Repeat this for 5 minutes for the first week. If this is too easy then repeat this for 10 to 20 minutes. Stretch when you are done.
Third: smile and enjoy yourself. More to come. Stay tuned