Stretch therapy is great to incorporate into your physical therapy. Although it is something that may seem commonsense, there is a science to stretching effectively. For example, you must hold a stretch for at least 30 seconds to lengthen muscle fiber- anything less than this amount of time actually doesn’t do anything for your body.
Advanced athletes and heavy lifters should note that intense mobility work with prolonged holds and stretching is better left for the end of a workout. Intense stretching decreases muscle tissue contractility temporarily, which can be counterproductive before a heavy lifting session or intense HIIT program.
However, that’s just the beginning of stretch therapy . Tendons, ligaments, arteries and veins all take 90-120 seconds to stretch, whereas nerves take a lengthy 3 minutes to stretch adequately. Long, consistent stretches are the key to stretching in a way that will allow you to reap the full benefits of these movements.
At Symmetry Physical Therapy, we offer stretch therapy as part of our sessions with patients. Stretching offers many health benefits, including increases in flexibility, release of endorphins, improved blood flow and energy levels. It can also help to reduce post-workout soreness, recovery time and decrease the risk of injury.
Although easy to neglect in a busy day, the importance of stretching as a lifestyle habit cannot be overlooked. The team at Symmetry Physical Therapy is here to advise and teach you stretches that are right for your body and fitness level. Drop us a line, or give us a call, to schedule a time to come in and meet with one of our experienced therapists.