There are so many things you can do to improve your health (and of course things that you’re doing to make your health worse). We talk about seeing your chiropractor regularly, maintaining a healthy weight through good foods, getting enough rest, and drinking water.
The patients I see who are aging the best, who are still active and continue to do physical challenges address their flexibility on a regular basis.
They got tired of feeling stiff and immobile and made stretching a regular component of what they do on a daily basis.
On the other hand, most people don’t stretch. The hamstrings (back of thigh) and hip rotators (underneath your butt muscles) become the most tight on those people that sit in front of computers all day, which is 99% of our patient base.
The most noticeable group of people experiencing problems related to this are usually 25 – 35 and are regularly active. They run, they work out, and they play sports. What they don’t do is stretch. They have never gotten into the habit and in their minds, they don’t need to.
However, they will come into our office dealing with back pain focused in the sacroiliac joints (the joints near your belt level) that gets worse when they stand up. Their muscles are tight and pull like ropes whenever they stand up. The pain continues to get worse as they deal with their regular daily activities until they are forced to do something about it.
Chiropractic care goes a long way in alleviating these types of symptoms, but without working on stretching and improving flexibility, the problem will continue to return. Even though some may opt for a regular chiropractic adjustment, the effects of the adjustment will last longer when stretching is added to your daily routine.
Stretching is best when done following exercise, when everything is warmed up. You do need to warm up your body prior to strenuous activity, but that shouldn’t include long, sustained stretches. The new thinking is that you actually are putting yourself at greater risk of injury by doing this type of stretching pre-workout.
After your workout, your muscles, ligaments, and tendons are all warmed up and can receive a long stretch more readily. Plus, you’ll actually improve flexibility, not just “warm up.”
If you need help determining which stretches you should be doing for your condition – ask your chiropractor! In our office, we do focus on posture exercises in addition to stretching, but stretching consistently is hugely important in helping you stay healthy and feel your best.