Flexibility, Improving Movement, Physiotherapy, Stretching

Four types of stretching, which is the best?

Regardless of which physiotherapist you see or which sport you have played in your lifetime, you are bound to have heard or been told that stretching is good for you.

The truth? It is, BUT… there are different types of stretching and it is important you use the right type of stretching at the right time!

Being aware of the possible risks of each type of stretching could make a difference to your likelihood of injury or even your performance!

The main types of stretching are; Static, Dynamic, Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation and Ballistic.

8stretching-istock159682821Static Stretching is the type of stretching that we all know well.  You tension a muscle until you feel a stretch, then hold for  a period of time (usually 20-30 seconds).

Pros:

  • Increases the extensibility of the muscle(s) stretched
  • With prolonged repetition can increase muscle length

Cons:

  • It can increase the risk of injury if done before exercise because of an increased risk of instability.
  • Has been shown to reduce muscle power by 7-8% and muscular endurance by up to 30% for up to 24 hours.

When is it appropriate? After exercise to release tightened muscles and if you are looking to increase overall flexibility and muscle length.

Dynamic stretching is a stretching technique that we may not all be familiar with.  It uses momentum to stretch a muscle for a short period within its range of motion.  Below is a video that runs through an example of a dynamic stretch.

 

Pros:

  • Has shown to improve muscular strength, power, endurance and agility
  • Appropriate during a pre-exercise warm up without compromising stability

Cons:

  • Does not provide an overall lengthening of muscles
  • Can be hard to perform without demonstration or clear instruction

When is it appropriate? Before exercise and daily during rehabilitation programs if appropriate.

Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation is simply shortened to PNF.  It is a form of stretching with the aim of providing large increases in range of motion in a short time by contracting opposing muscles against a passive stretch, or in other words, pushing against a static stretch.

Pros:pnf-stretches

  • Can produce large increases in range of motion and muscle extensibility in a short time
  • Facilitates muscle inhibition to allow spasmodic or tight muscles relax

Cons:

  • Has the same effects on muscle power and endurance as static stretching
  • Can lead to injury if not performed correctly and safely

When is it appropriate? After exercise to release tightened muscles, to release muscle spasm and as part of exercise programs to increase flexibility and performance. It is, however, not always necessary and you should consult your physiotherapist on how to do these stretches correctly and to determine which stretches are most appropriate for you.

Ballistic Stretching is similar to static stretching, but involves a bouncing at end of range.  It is not Screen-Shot-2012-08-07-at-9_41_03-PM1recommended as it is not shown to have any lasting benefits and there is an increased risk of injury when performing the stretches.

For more examples of stretches, feel free to view some of our other posts by clicking the links below.

https://northernbeachesphysio.com/2013/11/25/4-tips-for-effective-calf-stretching/

https://northernbeachesphysio.com/2014/02/21/avoid-the-hump-the-stiff-thoracic-spine/

https://northernbeachesphysio.com/2014/03/20/morning-stretches/

https://northernbeachesphysio.com/2014/03/18/best-hamstring-stretching-technique/

Post by Mitchell Sandvoss (B. Physiotherapy)

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Physiotherapy

The 5 Tips to getting the most out of your Retirement Years!

When you retire, you will find you have much more time on your hands.  Good health begins with a good lifestyle, and below are 5 tips to improve your longevity and allow you to think, move and live well long after you stop working.

WALKING is a great activity that almost everyone can do.RetireesWalking2
It has many benefits including reducing the risk of heart disease and improving lung function. It also increases or maintains muscle strength and balance while also maintaining bone density.

It is accessible to everyone and it is important that you add walking to your daily routine for 20-30mins.  A new local walk worth trying is the loop around Narrabeen Lake which stretches for 8.5kms and has beautiful scenery!

STRETCHING is an excellent way to take the pressure off your body.  It reduces that feeling of stiffness by providing a greater amount of Thoracic Open Book stretchextensibility in your muscles.

Incorporating a simple stretching routine into your morning routine can be a great way to start the day.  The muscles to focus on include your hip flexors (front of your thigh), hamstrings (back of your thigh), gluteals (bottom muscles), neural stretches and rotating and distracting the spine.  For instruction on stretches and technique, links will be provided at the end of the blog.

LIGHT RESISTANCE TRAINING is a great tool for regulating blood pressure and increasing bone density while reducing your risk of falls.  It also increases muscular strength and endurance which allows you to complete daily tasks with greater ease.

Resistance female1training can be conducted through the use of resistance bands, body weight, free weights, machine weights, etc. and is recommended 2-3 times a week.

Choose a weight that you can lift 12-15 times without great difficulty and complete 2-3 sets of 4-5 different exercises concentrating on closed-chain (hand/foot stay still, body moves) exercises that work all major muscle groups (legs, chest, back, shoulders).

As we age, we also become more susceptible to injury so it is important to consult a trained professional to create a program that is appropriate for your age and fitness level.

A BALANCED DIET is vital to looking after our bodies regardless of age, but becomes more important as our body becomes less efficient.  Be sure to include a large variety of foods with emphasis on natural meats, fruit and vegetables to allow us to receive the necessary vitamins, minerals and fuelsfood for each day.

The newest research states that we should be increasing our daily intake of natural fats (found in grain-fed meat products and things like avocado and unsalted nuts) and reducing our overall intake of
processed carbohydrates (such as white rice, white bread and fruit juices).

Also be aware that you aren’t over-indulging in foods containing processed saturated fats, processed sugar, or a high salt content or by over-eating, because these can a gradual rise in cholesterol which can increase the likelihood of heart attack or stroke.

FIND A PASSION/HOBBY to give yourself the motivation to keep healthy and fit.  They provide you with the opportunity to be physically and mentally active on a consistent basis and as we all bikeoldknow if we don’t use it, we lose it!

Ensure that you choose something that is easily accessible and appropriate for your physical and mental capabilities, but still challenges and engages you.

Always make sure that safety is your first thought when exercising or trying something new.  Try to avoid extreme conditions (hot or cold) and choose an intensity that is within your limits.  If you are unsure about how to approach something, we recommended that you seek professional advice.

https://northernbeachesphysio.com/2014/03/20/morning-stretches/

https://northernbeachesphysio.com/2014/03/18/best-hamstring-stretching-technique/

Post by Mitchell Sandvoss (B. Physiotherapy)

Alarm Clock
Daily Exercises, Gluteal, Improving Movement, Injuries, Lifestyle, Physio's Personal Tips, Physiotherapy

Morning stretches!

Stretches in the morning:

Spinal stiffness and pain is a common complaint. This can be caused by inflammation, arthritis or muscular tightness as well as injuries such as bulging discs.

The impact of spinal symptoms can easily be reduced by doing a regular morning stretching session.

Generally, I advise my patients to wait 20-30 minutes after rising from bed before they commence spinal stretching. This is to allow the discs to compress slightly after they have been expanding during sleep. This reduces the risk of injury to the discs.

Following is a list of great exercises to do in the morning to get your spine moving!

Knees to chest rocking: bring the knees to the chest and tuck up in a gentle rocking motion 10 times.

CurlRock

Sciatic nerve stretches: using a long belt stretch the leg as shown by gently moving the ankle forward and back, keeping the leg straight.

HamstringAnim2

Piriformis and gluteal stretches: place the ankle of one leg on the knee of the other and lift both legs up toward you as shown, hold for 20-30 seconds as you pull the stretching leg toward the opposite shoulder and push into the ankle with the opposite knee.

GluteStretch

Open book stretch: lying on your side as shown, breathe in as you take your top arm across your body, allowing your head and shoulders to turn with it. Hold the stretch and breathe out. Repeat 10 times both sides.

Thoracic Open Book stretch