Holistic News & Events
July 6, 2011
The Importance of Muscle Stretching
By Dr. Sal Masi
“ One of the best ways to maintain your muscles is to stretch your muscles.”
One of the most common questions a patient will ask me is what can I do to help myself feel better? My typical response is stretch your muscle each day.
Muscle tissue is a dynamic tissue that creates movement of the body. It supports and assists our joint movement, holds us upright and even helps to maintain our body's temperature. Muscle cells that make up muscle tissue have a unique biomechanical layout. These cells contain parallel arrangements of protein strands that literally slide over on another in order to create movement or what is referred to as muscle contraction. When a muscle is contracted or tightened these fibers are bunched up over on another in short, stout bundles. When a muscle is stretched or lengthened these fibers are pulled apart into long, narrow bundles. Healthy muscle tissue should be able to do both of these functions easily.
Unfortunately,many of us find our muscles to be stuck in the short, stout arrangement. Over time due to improper use and lack of use of our muscles leads to chronic tightening and shortening of these muscles. Our joint range of motion, for example, the ability to move our arm above our head or turn our neck to all the way right and all the way left, becomes diminished and sometimes even painful to do. Chronic muscle tightness is the first step to chronic joint injury, muscle strain, muscle tears, tendinitis, myofascial pain syndrome, do I need to go on?
Proper maintenance of your muscles is critical to preserving the health of your muscles. One of the best ways to maintain your muscles is to..... stretch your muscles. That being said, you are all eager to begin stretching. A few tips to begin your healthy new start. Begin with an evaluation of your body and muscles by an expert. You will be quite surprised to find out the condition of your muscles. The practitioner will be able to instruct and assist you in stretching. Passive stretching (stretching done by a practitioner while you relax) is a great way to start you program and insure that you avoid injury. Keep your muscles warm. This allows for easier stretching. Pain can be a warning signal. Do not over do it. Start slow and progress. Always stay hydrated. Muscles are mostly water.
Dr. Sal Masi