The Importance of Stretching after Exercise
Whether you are super-fit or just beginning to exercise for a healthier lifestyle, it is always important to stretch after exercising. Lactic acid builds up in muscles when you use them repetitively for any length of time and this will cause them to fatigue and ache. Applying a stretch after exercise can improve muscle function, reduce muscle fatigue and help prevent injury.
How to Apply a Muscle Stretch
The secret of good stretching is Long and Slow.
Apply a stretch and hold it for the count of 30 seconds. It can take up to 15 seconds for all the muscle fibres within the muscle to become activated in the stretch and so the final 15 seconds becomes the actual lengthening of the muscle.
Do not 'bounce' at the end of stretch range as this applies tension to the tendons and doesn't stretch the actual muscle.
Apply the stretch to the group of muscles you have just been using during exercise. Common sense but the muscles needing to stretch are the warmed-up, tired muscles.
Knees to Chest: these are good after any impact related sport to release compression in the lower back.
Lying on your back with a pillow/towel under your head, clasp your hands underneath your knees. Gently pull your knees up to your chest, keeping your head flat on the towel/pillow. Pull up until you feel a mild stretch in the lower back. Hold for 30 seconds. Relax your grip to lower the knees. Repeat 3 times.
Hamstring Stretches: these are good after running, walking or cycling.
Lying on your back with a pillow/towel under your head, bring up one knee and clasp underneath the knee. Pull the knee up to your chest and then raise your foot as if to straighten the leg but don't let the knee fully extend. You should feel the stretch in the back of your thigh. Hold for 30 seconds and then relax the foot down. Repeat 3 times.
Calf Stretches: these are good after running, walking, or cycling.
Stand on a step, holding on to the wall. Place the ball of the foot on the edge of the step with your heel over-hanging. Slowly drop your heel down until the calf feels the stretch. Do NOT bounce as this will place too much strain on the Achilles tendon in the ankle. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds then raise back up. Repeat for the other leg.
Pectoral Chest Stretches: these are good after running, cycling and swimming.
Stand in a doorway and place your forearm along the edge of the doorway. Twist your torso away from the arm and feel the stretch across the front of your chest in the pectoral muscle. Breathe deeply whilst you hold for 30 seconds. Repeat with the other arm.
Should any of these stretches cause you any discomfort then stop doing immediately and await further advice from your Osteopath at Kingston & Teddington Osteopathy.
Practice News Update
Mark has recently become registered as a FMT Blades therapist in Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilisation (IASTM). This technique is useful for soft tissue injuries and he can now build this approach into your Osteopathic session. For further information please call the practice on 0208 977 6396.
It is with sadness but huge best wishes that we say goodbye to Anna. After 5 years the long commute from East Dulwich has finally proved too much and she is now going to be working in a gallery back to her roots as a picture framer. We wish her all the best in her new endeavours.
We would like to extend a warm welcome to Katie Clare who is going to be working Saturday afternoons and Thursday afternoon/evenings. Katie has a special interest in Cranial Osteopathy for babies and children and we are delighted to have her join the team.
Also joining the practice is Jonny Spadaccini who will be working on Mondays. Jonny has extra skills of dry acupuncture needling and use of ultrasound therapy alongside classical and structural osteopathy. We are really pleased to welcome such a competent professional to become part of the K&T Osteopathy team.