Most of my Woodbridge, Dale City Virginia area chiropractic patients understand the need for cardiovascular exercise but flexibility is often over looked. I also see it at the gym with people just getting there and jumping on a treadmill or heading down to lift weights with almost no warmup. As a chiropractor I get asked all the time about how to prevent injuries. Improving our flexibility is one of the most important things we can do prevent injury, especially as we age. Flexibility is essential to protecting your body from injury, especially if you spend most of the day sitting in front of a computer.
Here are some really good ways that the ACA Today listed to help us all maintain flexibility and also help prevent injury!
It’s important to warm up before attempting a walk, run or exercise program. To avoid injury caused by exerting cold muscles, try the following dynamic warm-up to increase your core temperature, muscle flexibility and heart rate.
Toe-touch. Standing straight up, hold your arms out directly in front of you and walk forward, kicking your legs up and trying to touch your toes to your hands without lowering your arms. Repeat 10-20 times for each leg. It’s OK if you can’t reach your hands when you first start out—just kick your leg up as high as it will go.
Inverted toe-touch. Standing straight up, lean forward and reach your arms down to the ground while you lift your right leg behind you. Keep your back straight and return to start. Repeat 10-20 times on each leg. Again, if you can’t reach all the way down to the ground, simply go as far as you can without losing your balance.
Knee hug. Standing up straight, bring your right knee to your chest and squeeze with your arms. Repeat 10-20 on each leg.
Lunge. Step forward with your left leg, bending your right knee until it touches the ground. Be sure that your left knee stays in line with your ankle. Repeat 10-20 times on each leg.
Groiner. Start off with a lunge with your left leg forward. Bring your left elbow down to meet your knee and then your ankle, sliding along the inside of your leg. Repeat 10-20 times on each leg. If you can’t get your elbow to touch your ankle just yet, that’s OK. You can start with simply bringing your elbow down to your knee and gradually progress to your ankle as you continue to incorporate these stretches into your everyday routine.
For a video example of these dynamic warm-up exercises, visit the Health and Wellness Tips page found at www.acatoday.org/patients.
Stretches for Your Back
If you’re experiencing back pain or if you have a back injury, try these stretches to help facilitate movement in the affected muscle or joint. Stretches should be held for 15 to 30 seconds.
Hamstring stretch. Lie on your back with one leg straight out and one leg bent at the knee. Lift your straight leg up in the air. If you want, you can loop a towel or exercise band around your foot and gently pull the band toward your chest. Repeat three times on each leg.
Piriformis stretch. This can be completed either lying down or standing straight up. With one leg straight, pull the other knee into the chest toward the opposite shoulder. Repeat three times on each leg.
Cobra. Lying on your stomach, gently push your upper body off the floor, hold and then return to start. Repeat this stretch three times.
To see a video of these, and other back pain exercises, visit the Health and Wellness Tips page found at www.acatoday.org/patients.
Consult your chiropractic physician prior to attempting any of these exercises or stretches and before starting any new exercise program. He or she can help you develop an individualized program and provide instruction on proper technique.
Never stretch a cold muscle (minimum of five minutes light jogging, biking, dancing, etc. before stretching)
Good form is extremely important when it comes to stretching – do not bounce!
Do not limit yourself to the exercises that you enjoy or that you are good at—make sure you are stretching all of your major muscle groups.
Your stretch point is the point at which you feel the stretch, but not pain.
Flexibility is unique to each individual. Do not try to mimic another person’s stretch point.
3122 Golansky Blvd, Ste 102
Woodbridge VA 22192
703 730 9588