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The importance of focusing on flexibility today is because of an increase in sedentary lifestyles and repetitive movements. In today’s society, it’s not uncommon for most people to experience postural imbalances. Many office jobs, which require individuals to sit for long periods of time, have lead to large increases in low back and neck pain. Focusing on flexibility is one of the most effective ways to help alleviate and prevent such injuries. Flexibility can be described as the ability to move a joint through its complete range of motion. The many benefits of flexibility training include:
- Improving muscle imbalances
- Increasing joint range of motion and muscles extensibility
- Relieving excessive tension of muscles and joint stress
There are two different types of stretches: Static and Active. Static stretching is the process of passively taking a muscle to the point of tension and holding the stretch for a minimum of 30 seconds. It combines low force with longer duration. Active stretching requires the opposing muscle to initiate the stretch. In fact, in active stretching the muscle you are trying to stretch is relaxed .
Stretching is just as important as getting enough exercise. It is also easy to stretch wherever you need. If you find yourself sitting for a long period of time, get up walk around and stretch your body. Try these stretches during your work break:
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Standing Adductor Stretch:
- Stand in a straddled stance with the feet beyond shoulders-width apart. Extend one leg back until the toe of the back leg is in line with the heel of the other foot. Both feet should be pointed straight ahead.
- Draw navel inward and posteriorly rotate the pelvis.
- Slowly move in a sideways motion (side lunge) until a stretch in the straight leg’s groin area is felt.
- Hold for 30 seconds and repeat with other leg.
Image Source: Sharon Karam
Supine Femoris Stretch
- Lie on your back with your legs flat.
- Flex and slightly rotate the hip of the side being stretched while keeping the knee flexed.
- Place the opposite hand behind the knee of the leg being stretched.
- Draw navel inwards.
- With hand supporting leg, extend the knee.
- Hold for 1-2 seconds and repeat for 5-10 repetitions.
Please let us know how you like these stretches and if you have any questions. If you are feeling more motivated to get moving, we can help! Below are 2 quick workout circuits that you can do at home, at the office or wherever you need!
Written by Eric Cassera: Personal Trainer
Blahnik, J. (2011). Types of Stretches. Retrieved from Human Kinetics: http://www.humankinetics.com/excerpts/excerpts/types-of-stretches