Stretching for optimal movement
At Functional For Life Personal Training, we are obsessed with the ‘why’ of training. There is a great saying that goes ‘train intentionally, not habitually’. In other words, train intelligently and don’t just move to get a sweat up and burn of some calories. Our mission is to help you improve your understanding of how we can get a lot more out of training than just sweating and some weight loss. Our focus today is stretching.
If you are not interested in the theory behind stretching, and want to make a start, we won’t take any offence! Just scroll down and follow the links. If you frequently read Functional For Life Blogs, you will know that we recommend self myofascial release as a technique to improve movement. This combined with stretching, can be a highly potent combination to get your body moving optimally ASAP!
Why is stretching important?
The need for stretching has dramatically increased as the role of human movement in day to day life has changed. In our primal hunting and gathering days, the human body was used in its most efficient form. On the feet most of the day, standing, walking, running, digging- using the body to it’s maximum capacity. Fast forward to 2019 and a huge proportion of day to day human movement consists of sitting down, working in offices, driving cars, sitting on planes etc. Of course we are over simplifying things but in essence as humans have progressed through time, the necessity to use our bodies to their full potential has diminished.
This leads to adverse effects on human movement. One of these being, muscle groups being thrown out of whack. The majority of muscles in the human body work in pairs. Consider the bicep and tricep. If we flex our arm the bicep shortens and in turn the tricep lengthens. What if we walked around with a flexed arm for the majority of the day? What if we did it for the majority of the day 7 days a week? Would we have issues?
In short. Research suggests yes. The muscle that is flexed (contracted), becomes chronically short due to fascia locking it in place. This is true for the opposing muscles. It becomes locked long. Here in lies the problem. When we sit down most of the day, we start to throw our body out of whack. Some muscles become chronically short and some chronically long. When we go to move whether it is running, swimming or squat jumping, these issues come into play. In basic terms. Instead of our muscles working in perfect balance as they were designed to. We have restrictions and issues with control all over the body. This can lead to injury and of course less than ideal movement. Being aware of this and including stretching plus release work into your training regime can help to improve your overall movement. It not only leads to more efficient and optimal movement, it often leads to reduced if not eliminates chronic musculoskeletal pain.
Where to from here?
Our upcoming blog series will be focusing on stretches you can use to help free up and improve the range of motion, in numerous areas of the body including the back, hips and arms. We hope our blogs give you an insight into how stretching can play a role in improving your movement, health and well being!
(Warning: The training and instructional content contained on this website should be taken as information and not medical advice. Please consult your health professional before attempting these exercises.)