Why is stretching Important:
We all know we should stretch, but far too many of us overlook this and choose to get on with life after sports or free running and don’t take the time to stretch after. Part of the problem is that we are not educated enough on the reasons we should be stretching – and perhaps a full list of all the reasons we should be doing it could help encourage us to be more vigilant. Here we will look at a selection of the reasons it’s important to stretch.
It Improves Muscle Development
If you’re doing a workout with the hope of building muscle then stretching is very important as it enables you to move through the full range of movement. This then results in your building full and long muscles instead of them becoming stunted and short. Stretching can also move lactic acid buildup after a heavy weight session.
It Increases Range of Motion
Not only does stretching increase the range of motion for someone lifting weights while they’re doing it, it also helps to increase range of motion and flexibility in general. This then means that you will be more likely to perform things such as the splits or high kicks. It’s highly useful in a range of different athletic and sporting events and many athletes practice stretching for this reason.
It Reduces Injury
Stretching reduces the chance of injury by gradually elongating the muscle. If you’re more flexible then that will mean that you don’t pull or tear a muscle if you are to slip or trip as your body is capable of reaching that position. In the short term it also helps to limber up the muscle and tendon and thereby prevent a pulled muscle or tendon.
It Warms You Up
Stretching can be used as a way to warm up the muscles and it will encourage the flow of blood. This then provides the muscles with an oxygen supply as well as nutrients in order to help them to keep going. If you are going to stretch before a more dynamic or moving stretch is best!
It Improves Posture
Stretching can also help you to improve your posture and particularly stretching the back. It may also be useful for alleviating pain and this is why it is commonly used as a part of yoga and Pilates. Stretching is being widely debated today in the health field however, these are the reasons you should choose to stretch after a workout or during your daily life!
Misconception: The more I train, the better I will become as a runner and athlete!
Truth: The amount of training you do can be a direct predictor of the risk of sports injury. For example if you trained or ran 20 miles per week last month and this month you jump to 35, there is a greater chance for your body not to be able to handle this. Muscles that are tired do a poor job of protecting their tissues, muscles fibers, and connected tendons and ligaments. The more miles you put on the trail the more likely you are to be injured.
Suggestion: Follow a training plan. There are so many resources out there on the internet, running stores, as well as professionals who can design a training plan specific for your goals and fitness. Don’t make drastic adjustments to what you are doing without some acclimation time for your body. When learning to become a long distance runner or marathon runner following a specific training guide line is your best bet to avoid injury.
Misconception: Any “new” tennis shoe will do what I need to run!
Truth: Wearing the wrong shoe can set you up directly for pain and injury. Do not cut cost, and corners that will end up costing you more in medical expenses and doctor bills in the future.
Suggestion: Do some research. Talk to friends that run and ask where they go for running shoes. Ask your chiropractor or podiatrist for recommendations of where to purchase running shoes that will fit your specific feet, arch, and biomechanical set-up. People do tend to fall into several categories and shoe stores have professionals to identify which one you fall into which will get you the right fit for success and injury prevention as you are running. Also track your mileage on your new shoes.
Track your mileage. After 350-550 miles it’s time for a new pair. For runners who log 20- 25 miles per week replace your shoes every three to five months.
Check for signs of wear on the sole by placing your old shoes on a table and looking at them from behind. If the soles are worn and leaning to one side, the mid-foot or arch cushioning is probably worn as well. This indicates it is time to get a new pair!
The best way to prevent injury is to stay informed and have a plan for what you would like to accomplish. At PMSS Dr. Jenna Cook can help you decipher what kind of plan is for you, and keep you on track. She is also certified in several sports/running specific techniques that can help you if you are currently injured or at a loss at to what is the next step in training. Call today to make an appointment today and have your tennis shoes evaluated to see if you are in the right footwear or to see what that nagging pain in your calf means before more problems occur!