Stretching out for everyday wear and tear. The body was designed for movement, mobility, and physicality. When discomfort, aches, and pain present in the neck, shoulders, back, and joints, it is often from a decrease of natural body movement. Many think that sitting still and resting is the best solution to alleviate the pain. While it is important to rest, it is the type of rest that helps the body. Sitting still with no movement is not recommended. The muscles, ligaments, and tendons need to flex and stretch out to help reduce pain and prevent injury. Safe, chiropractic-approved stretches can increase mobility and fluidity, helping the body stay flexible and loose.
Stretching Out For Everyday Wear and Tear Is Important
Whether experiencing pain or are getting ready for the day, there are many reasons why stretching is important. One, stretching is essential to optimal joint health. When muscles surrounding the joints become tight/tense, this significantly reduces mobility in the joint. Regular stretching lengthens the muscles, relaxing the joints to move without discomfort/awkwardness. Stretching optimizes blood circulation to flow smoothly through the body. Routine stretching helps reduce stress and improves energy. Other benefits include:
- Post-workout/exercise/physical activity soreness and pain relief
- Improves athletic performance
- Prevents injury/s
- Helps heal existing injuries
- Improves posture
Stretching Safe at Home
Chiropractors often recommend stretches for patients to follow to help improve their progress between appointments. If persistent pain is presenting, consult with a qualified chiropractic doctor before performing any stretches. If done incorrectly, they can exacerbate pain and cause further damage. No matter an individual’s lifestyle, the wear and tear of everyday life can cause tightness, inflammation, or generalized pain. Developing a regular stretching routine can address any tense, tight, sore areas that will help keep the body pain-free.
Most individuals feel tailbone pain from sitting for long periods of time. Reasons for tailbone pain can result from:
- Falling backward
- Sitting in the wrong position
- All can injure the tailbone and/or the surrounding muscles and tissue.
Tailbone stretching improves movement and flexibility in these muscles and tissue, maintaining the tailbone’s health. One recommended stretch is the piriformis cross leg stretch.
- Lie flat on the back.
- Bring both knees toward the hips.
- Rest the right ankle across the left knee.
- Wrap both hands around the left thigh
- Pull toward the chest.
- Hold for 20-30 seconds.
- Slowly bring down both legs and return to the starting position.
- Repeat on the other side.
Wrist and Hand Stretch
For those that are constantly writing, typing, or lifting regularly, wrist and hand pain can begin to present. Stretches for the hands and wrists can:
- Increase flexibility
- Alleviate pain
- Reduce the risk of injury
The prayer stretch for the wrists and hands is specifically designed to strengthen the muscles and tendons in the wrists.
- Standing with the back straight and feet shoulder-width apart.
- Place hands together in a prayer position.
- Hands in front of the face.
- Pressing both palms together, slowly spread the elbows apart.
- Begin to lower the hands to waist height
- Stop once the hands become level with the belly button or when the stretch is felt.
- Hold the position for 10-30 seconds.
- Return to the original position.
- Repeat as needed.
When tightness or soreness presents in the knee, stretching the hamstrings can help. The hamstrings go through a great deal of wear and tear, supporting the hips and knees, maintaining mobility and flexibility.
- Standing with the back straight.
- Step forward with the left foot.
- Flex the left foot and keep the right foot flat.
- Loosen the hips and bend the right knee.
- As the right leg is bent, keep the left leg completely straight with the heel pressing into the ground.
- If maintaining balance is difficult, use a wall for support.
- Hold the position for 10-15 seconds.
- Return to starting position.
- Repeat on the other side.
Body Composition Health
The Gut’s Hormones
When a meal enters the stomach and intestines, it triggers the digestive tract to release hormones that create the full feeling. These are the gut’s hormones, with each having a specific set of actions and effects. Examples include PYY, GLP-1, and GIP. Gut hormones are essential because they signal the body to slow down or stop eating. Therefore, the size of a meal influences the number of gut hormones that get released. The body releases larger quantities of gut hormones in response to meals with a higher caloric density. This is because larger meals usually contain more calories. This is one reason the body feels more satisfied after a large meal. Smaller meals are less satisfying, which means an individual will want to eat again after the meal.
After eating comes the digestion and absorption of macronutrients. This is known as the postprandial state. The body is in storage mode during the postprandial state. Even though the metabolic rate increases after a meal, the contents of that meal get broken down and stored for fuel. Four hours after a meal, the body goes back to its baseline state, which primarily burns through the stored fuel. Eating frequent, small meals throughout the day means the body spends more of the day in the postprandial storage state.
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Hotta, Kazuki et al. “Daily muscle stretching enhances blood flow, endothelial function, capillarity, vascular volume and connectivity in aged skeletal muscle.” The Journal of physiology vol. 596,10 (2018): 1903-1917. doi:10.1113/JP275459
le Roux, C W et al. “Attenuated peptide YY release in obese subjects is associated with reduced satiety.” Endocrinology vol. 147,1 (2006): 3-8. doi:10.1210/en.2005-0972