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Stretching Tight Muscles - Do You Think You Are Doing It Right?

Dr. Aparna Pradhan 88% (107 ratings)
BPTh/BPT, MPT
Physiotherapist, Pune  •  12 years experience
Stretching Tight Muscles - Do You Think You Are Doing It Right?

Being flexible is not always about doing splits or doing some random bending. It is about achieving a level of mobility that will not hold you back from doing whatever you are able to do. Most people think that stretching or flexing your muscles and body as the first method to defend you from pain. But if stretching and flexing can be done correctly, it can lengthen one's muscles and give one relief from pains and aches. Stretching is also done to increase the functional range of one's joints and muscles. There are various ways by which one can stretch their muscles. However, the question which looms over here is which is the correct procedure and which is the wrong one.

The wrong vs the right Way: Before discussing about the correct way, let us talk about the various wrong ways in which stretching can be done. The first rule is that if stretching is causing you pain or if it is hurting you, then you are probably taking it too far. A muscle needs to relax as much as possible, if it needs to stretch. If one is stretching so hard that he or she cannot relax then the muscle will not lengthen. Stretching should never be painful.

One should also avoid stretching for an insufficient length of time. Only a few seconds of stretching will not hold the therapeutic effects of stretching.

The following methods are few of the correct ways to stretch:

  1. Always start with the warm muscles. Warm your muscles by doing some aerobic movement or by applying heat with the help of a warm bath.
  2. After warming your muscles, monitor your level of discomfort. Let it go once you feel pain.
  3. Hold any stretch for at least 30 seconds.

Stretching the Correct Muscle: There are muscles, which need to be stretched and there are muscles, which should not be. So getting to know the correct muscles to be stretched is as important as knowing the correct procedure to stretch your muscles. Every muscle, which does not hurt should not be stretched. There are different types of muscles that cause pain like stiff, tight, short muscles and long muscles. Muscles that are tight should only be subjected to stretching. Stretching muscles that are too long is not a good idea.

Using Physiotherapists: Most people who cannot determine which muscle should be stretched and which should not be, should consult a physiotherapist. Physiotherapists can quickly and easily diagnose muscular issues. They will also show ways to stretch which are most effective for particular needs.

Stretching should be made a part of one's life. It is a way by which one can become their healthiest self and avoid muscular imbalances. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

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