Most of our patients sit all day at computers. Like, all day. When they’re not sitting at the computer, they’re sitting in their cars until they get home to sit on the couch. Sitting all day is being touted as “The New Smoking” — and it’s an epidemic.
Now they’re suggesting that even if you exercise, you’ll still suffer the ill effects of sitting too much. I’m not going down without a fight! Thankfully, I get to move around quite a bit with my job and I exercise regularly.
While many patients do little to no exercise (probably 80% of the patients we see), even those that do exercise regularly aren’t fond of stretching or foam rolling. Obviously, I also believe getting adjusted on a regular basis is very important to better health. Yes, we adjust to make sure your nervous system works as well as it can, but we also want you to have as much range of motion and mobility as possible.
You don’t have to wait until something hurts to get adjusted, and you don’t have to wait until you can’t move before you begin a stretching routine.
To help maintain your ability to move and function, you have to address the muscles, ligaments, and tendons. The quality and function of these soft tissues is dependent on a bunch of factors; what you eat, what you drink, how tired you are, how much you exercise, and how stressed you are to name a few.
You have to stretch. I haven’t met anyone that was against stretching, but they often don’t do it regularly or long enough to notice a difference. They also don’t necessarily hit the muscle groups that need the most attention. They don’t know which muscles they should be focusing on or why they would want to do it in the first place.
The most often neglected area that I see in my patients is the hips. People just can’t move their hip joints other than back and forth to walk. Without introducing the full range of motion into the hips, you’ll steadily lose that range of motion until it becomes nearly impossible for you to get it back.
There are tons of stretches available for all body parts, but where do you begin? I recently became a fan of the Frog Stretch. It’s a simple, sill looking stretch that I feel dumb doing. It’s one of those stretches that you hope no one sees you do, but you’ll be very happy that you did it.
I found a great YouTube video that demonstrates how to do it. (You didn’t think I was going to make a video of me doing it after what I just said about it, right?)
The first couple of times I did the stretch, I was sure I was doing it wrong.
My hips were super sore and I was unable to rotate my feet out without pain. This can be the very indicator that this is an area that needs work. I was absolutely positive that this stretch was impossible until I asked my wife about it and she did it with little effort (isn’t that fun?).
It’s better to be consistent with stretching instead of thinking you can do a stretch once or twice for a long time and assuming it will make a difference. I felt completely sore doing the stretch at first, but felt so much better afterwards that I knew this was a good thing.
So close the blinds, find a spot on the floor, and make your first attempt at a frog stretch. You’ll be questioning your decision-making at first, but you’ll notice improve hip range of motion right away. Let me know how it goes!