Stretch – because it’s good for you


Most of us are aware that stretching plays a vital role in our exercise regimen, but
how many of us actually practice what we preach?
How many of us actually do it at all?
Think about the last time you exercised, did you take the time to loosen your muscles
up before you ran those two miles or kicked a soccer ball around? Or did you
simply jump right into the activity? If you did, you were putting yourself at risk for a
serious injury.Stretching, in its most basic form, activates the muscles. The first thing
many people do when they wake up, outside of hitting the snooze button, is stretch.
It essentially serves as the alarm clock, telling your muscles to wake up.
Why should you take five minutes to warm up your muscles before any physical
activity? Because, when muscles are rarely used, the flow of blood is reduced.
Therefore putting stress on them without stretching properly is like trying to drive a car without motor oil.
Stretching pumps fresh oxygen-enriched-blood into your muscles, increasing the
blood flow and improving circulation. It also lowers blood pressure and improves
artery function.
Whether or not you are performing a physical activity, there are a number of
benefits to be derived from taking a few minutes to stretch each day. The older
you get, the more the range of motion in your joints become limited. Stretching not
only lubricates the muscle, but also lengthens it, thus increasing your flexibility.
A number of people come into my office complaining of back pain. In addition
to chiropractic care, our physical therapists provide a comprehensive stretching
program to all of our patients. It is an essential part of their recovery, because
back pain is generally caused by stiff muscles that are in turn caused by –you
guessed it –lack of stretching.
The biggest benefit of stretching is that anyone can do it. It comes naturally to
all of us. It’s the first thing we do when we wake up, and it feels good. Your body
will thank you for it because if you stretch regularly, the healthier you’ll be. It isn’t
time consuming and you can do it pretty much anywhere.
So go ahead, try it out. The positive results will last a lifetime.

Dr. Diege Ruiz

A graduate of Life University’s School of Chiropractic, Dr. Ruiz is the founder and
rehabilitation director of Options Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Center. An
active member of the local community, Dr. Ruiz is fluent in Spanish, and, with his wife
Rosalie, founded AUTISM ANGELS, which is a charity that supports economically challenged parents of children affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder. He is certified in Manipulation Under Anesthesia, Diagnostic Nerve Conduction Testing, and Active Release Technique. Dr. Ruiz is also a contributing health columnist for various publications.


Learn more about the writer ...