Stretch It Out!

If you stretch correctly and regularly, you will find that every movement you make becomes easier.

~Bob Anderson

My orthopedic surgeon looked at the x-ray of my shoulder and I quote, “that’s the most pissed off-shoulder I’ve ever seen.” I guess this was his special way of letting me know surgery was the only option, the injury had caused my shoulder to freeze. My recovery would take three months which included physical therapy three times a week. They recommended I go to physical therapy hours after surgery that wasn’t happening. I stumbled in the next day. After exchanging pleasantries my therapist gently touches my shoulder and says, “we have to stretch it out.” 

During my weekly physical therapy sessions, I learned that stretching is just as important as working out at the gym, running, hiking, or any other physical activity. I also learned that focusing on stretching forced me to be more patient and gentle with my body. My shoulder healed beautifully and it all happened one gentle stretch at a time. I recently reconnected with my stretching practices and I’ve found my productivity and energy increase. The benefits are really pretty impressive

Stretching has perks

As with any physical activity, a doctor should be consulted. Stretching is critical before starting any activity or workout. Athletes know this all too well and it is a standard most people are aware of. Stretching can also be the physical activity and the way a person chooses to move their body. I was so impressed when I heard Madonna share she practices pilates and does no other type of workout.

  • Improves and increases flexibility, this is very important because as you age flexibility decreases and range of motion is impacted. Stretching now will continue to prove beneficial long-term and support independence later on.
  • Stretching pushes stress out

Most of us can probably identify with where we carry our stress. Knotted shoulders and a stiff neck are not always because you slept the wrong way. Muscles tighten when they are stressed. Stretching softens the muscles.

  • Lunch break for the brain

Creating a peaceful and soothing atmosphere while stretching gives your brain permission to chill out. Practicing mindfulness, meditating, or praying allows your brain to rest and take a much-needed timeout.

Stretch warnings

During my early days of physical therapy, I underestimated the possibility of further injury. Because I was recovering I had to learn to ease into the stretch. I’d force the stretch to the point of pain. No pain no gain not applicable. 

According to healthline a few safety tips are standard (I learned the hard way). Keep the following four don’ts in mind, whether you’re a fitness guru or just starting out:

  • Bounce
  • Stretch beyond the point of comfort
  • Overdo it
  • Go into stretches cold. 

Incorporating stretching into an already existing routine or making it a daily practice is just another way to move. Stretching has also given me the opportunity to learn how to be gentle, honor, and respect my body. The body stores all of our trauma and stretching just provides the additional benefit of expressing self-love through movement.

Dare 2 Be Well!

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