How to Improve Your Flexibility & Compliment Physiotherapy Treatment
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.
Why is flexibility important?
Improved flexibility is very important and produces a wide range of physical benefits and can have a significant impact on wellbeing. Here are a few ways increased flexibility can help you:
Developing adequate flexibility can rid your body of any muscle imbalances which can reduce your chances of getting injured during physical activity.
Improved flexibility can enhance your overall balance within the body, lengthening and opening muscles which can contribute to looser muscles with less aches.
Improved posture and balance:
Increasing muscular flexibility can lead to improvements in posture in sitting and standing due to proper alignment.
Improved physical performance:
Improved flexibility can lead to improvements in physical performance, particularly in sport as the muscles are working more effectively.
Positive state of mind:
Engaging in flexibility exercise that stretch and open the body can bring about feelings of relaxation.
Why are some people more flexible than others?
There are multiple factors which impact an individual’s flexibility including:
Age – You tend to become less flexible as you get older due to muscles and joints becoming stiffer and tighter. Having an inactive lifestyle with limited stretching can accelerate inflexibility as you age.
Exercise and work history – People who spend most of their time sitting in office jobs are more likely to suffer in the long term. Specific exercises such as yoga, Pilates and regular stretching can help a person become more flexible.
Genetics – Some people are just more flexible! Much of our ability to stretch is about bone structure and tightness of tendons and muscles. However, lifestyle changes such as stretching regularly can make a huge difference.
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 treatment at our physiotherapy clinic 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.