What’s Stretching Got To Do With It?
It’s week 3 of our MOVE MORE focus for the month of April.
This week we talk about…STRETCHING!
We couldn’t leave out something as important as stretching. However, it’s “importance” may surprise you. Is stretching the key to longevity and health? For those of you who dislike stretching, you will be happy to know that no, it is not. Research has not shown stretching by itself to specifically prevent injury. (That’s strength.)
How does being flexible make me stronger?
If strengthening is the holy grail to injury prevention, what’s stretching got to do with it? Proper mobility and range of motion of the body is necessary to adequately utilize the tissue that you are trying to get stronger. In a nutshell, we need to stretch (sometimes) to make sure that we have full mobility of that area of the body. Stretching is an ingredient in the strengthening recipe. Stretching can also help to release endorphins which makes us like it. Chocolate is also popular and tasty…but would we sprinkle it on our salad? Chocolate is an ingredient that enhances and arguably makes the recipe work. Stretching also makes the strengthening recipe work when it is added to the right recipe.
If you cannot get through the entire range that the muscle is responsible for, you are likely 1) compensating and setting yourself up for injury or 2) not taking full advantage of the preventative benefits of strengthening. If for example, you are working on shoulder strength but do not have full range of motion in your mid back, your shoulder has to alter how it moves to get into that range, needing other muscles or other structures to do the work. Stretching on its own will not get you out of jail free BUT you will likely greatly benefit from stretching to get all the benefits from strengthening as well as avoid compensation patterns that may lead to injury.