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10 Reasons for incorporating stretching into your daily activities

These 10 reasons for incorporating stretching into your daily activities should inspire you to keep reading and watch my video at the end.

  1. Helps improve flexibility and increases your range of motion through the joint.
  2. Improves mechanical efficiency and overall functional performance.  If the muscles surrounding a joint are flexible the body can move through a wider range of motion with less energy, allowing for better performance overall.
  3. May slow the degeneration of joints.  By reducing stiffness you improve the range of motion around a joint
  4. Has the potential to decrease injury by preparing muscles for work prior to activity.
  5. Increases blood and nutrient supply to muscles, as a result generally reducing muscle soreness post exercise.
  6. May reduce the risk of injury, as a flexible muscle is less likely to become injured.
  7. Calms the mind by providing a mental break.
  8. Helps reduce stress as a well-stretched muscle holds less tension therefore leaving you feeling less stressed.
  9. By lengthening tight muscles you are assisting in correcting postural imbalances.  By focusing on the muscles that are tight due to daily activities, or inactivity you can counteract poor posture and allow the joint to function normally.
  10. Decreases the risk of low back pain when you focus on the muscles attached to the pelvis.

With the last two points in mind I have put together 4 simple stretches you can do just about anywhere.

Hamstrings are tight on just about everyone, whether its from sitting too much, doing lunges, deadlifts, step ups or sports like running and cycling.

Hip Flexors are tight on most people who sit for long periods of time.  Often you don’t feel this tightness until you go to do something, for instance a lunge.  Often I cue a client for a lunge and ask them to focus on the glute activation but instead they feel tightness in the hip flexors on the front of the opposing leg.  Often the overactive hip flexor prevents the gluteus complex from doing its job fully. 

Chest and anterior deltoids are tight from the shoulder being internally rotated while driving, sitting, and typing.  Also an area that is often overlooked because it doesn’t feel tight until you go and stretch the area.  A simple test is to just stand with your arms by your side.  If your palms face more toward the back of the room then you are internally rotated and need to focus on stretching this area.  If your fingertips face inward or even a little forward you are doing something right. 

Spine and muscles along the spine like the multifidi and erector spinae need regular movement to stay mobile.  Any position that gets held for long periods of time is not good for the spine.  This could be sitting at a desk, standing with poor posture, leaning over on a bike. 

There are many stretches that work well for these four areas but I have given you actions that can easily be done in sequence throughout your workday or at home.   I’ve chosen to show you a video where all you need is a chair.  Check out my 4 chair stretches video.


Killer Ball Technique

Last month I wrote about sitting too much with suggestions for moving throughout the day and keeping your body aligned properly.  You can make great progress with maintaining proper posture with a simple hard ball. 

Get out of that chair now!

Do you wonder why one shoulder feels different than the other, or why on just one side your low back feels tight?  It probably has a lot to do with your everyday movement patterns, including sitting too much.  When I started as a personal trainer I had no idea how much of my programming for clients was going to be geared toward fixing pre-existing postural and alignment problems.  There are simple everyday actions you can take to prevent further damage.  Maybe you think its all OK at the moment, well take a look here to see all the health hazards associated with sitting too much.