How to Improve Your Flexibility & Compliment Physiotherapy Treatment
Tony Beecroft, October 2016
If you’re having problems improving your flexibility, you may need physiotherapy treatment or advice. Even if you are regularly stretching, the desired results may not be possible if you’re unable to identify the exact problem and therefore enact an appropriate remedy. For example, pain in a certain area could be indicative of poor neural mobility, which is related to when your nerves aren’t working together as well as they should. This can be corrected with suitable massaging techniques and other movements that address this issue.
Proper Stretching with Physiotherapy Treatment
It’s perfectly normal to find out your exercises routine needs tweaking, even the stretching portion. We often follow norms and instructions from teachers and “gurus” without fully understanding the effects. There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to health but there are basic tips that you need to keep in mind. Exercises approved for physiotherapy treatment help increase your body’s endurance to muscle extension.
1. Dynamic Stretching Before a Workout.
Physiotherapists recommend dynamic stretching before you start your main workout. Examples of these are push-ups, leg swings and jumping jacks. These movements reduce stiffness in your muscles, activating them. Generally, long hold stretching doesn’t provide enough physical challenge to prepare your body for more intensive exercises such as running.
2. Static Stretching Are Good Cool-Down Exercises.
Holding stretching positions for long durations helps loosen up muscles that were tightened during a main workout session. A simple stretch you could do is the ‘Standing Triceps Stretch’. Stand straight with your feet apart but only as wide as your hips. Raise your hands straight up mid-air. Then bend one arm at the elbow until the hand touches the back. With the other hand, grab your bent elbow and gently begin pulling it in the direction of your head. For something more difficult, try the ‘swan stretch’.
3. Focus On Flexibility, Not Increasing Muscle Length.
It has not been clinically proven that stretching increases muscle length. However, it is possible to have muscles at their full length, that still lack flexibility. Physiotherapy treatment exercises help increase what’s called ‘neural mobility’ which improves your muscles’ ability to work together, as well as their endurance. Improving neural mobility allows your muscles to tolerate greater strain. The specific type of exercises that address this are called neural flossing techniques. You can try the ‘Long Sitting Slump’ at home by putting your feet against a wall or immovable object. Then, with back straight and palms firmly flat on the floor, move your legs up and down without lifting your feet.
4. Keep Moving.
If for some reason you can’t do these exercises, ensure you keep moving. It’s important to make sure your muscles get regular physical activity to improve their tolerance. This can be via a simple walk, jog or via relaxing activities such as light yoga or a massage. These activities not only help release tension in your body, but also allow you to de-stress and incorporating these into your daily routine help create a holistic approach to your health and wellbeing. Calculated techniques such as physiotherapy treatments are designed to compliment your regular daily activities, however they don’t have to be the sole focus.
5. Keep Calm and Stay Hydrated.
In connection with de-stressing, as discussed in the previous item, breathing exercises are also highly recommended. Physiotherapy treatment reduces aches in the body but some aches only require you to pause and take a deep breath. Head starting to hurt? Breathe in and out slowly. Your workload could be getting to you. Experiencing pain in your back? Take a short break like simply walking to the water dispenser for a quick drink. Always keep in mind that water is essential for your body. Drinking water is refreshing, healthy and one of the simplest ways we can improve our overall health.
Changing or adjusting your routine with a couple of these tips and aligning it with some physiotherapy treatment is likely to have a significant impact on your flexibility and wellbeing. For more information or professional advice for a better workout, schedule an appointment with your local physio. Our physiotherapists in Melbourne would also be more than happy to give you an accurate assessment of your muscles’ current condition and provide guidance for improvement.