Therapeutic Flexibility Training
Why is flexibility training important?
In today’s society we are plagued by postural imbalances, primarily because of our sedentary lifestyles. More and more people today are spending the majority of their time in an office chair, driving in the car, and in front of the television. More than ever before, flexibility training may decrease the occurences of muscle imbalances, joint problems, and overuse injuries. Without optimum levels of flexibility, it may not be possible for you to achieve your goals without getting injured. It is critical for you to learn about flexibility training and how you can apply it to your body’s needs.
You may be surprised to find that most back, knee, and other joint pains can be decreased just by simply following a 10 minute daily regimen. We have seen some amazing results in limited time with our patients at Marketplace Physical Therapy Redlands.
What is flexibility?
Flexibility is the normal extension of all soft tissues that allow the full range of motion of a foint. In more simple terms, flexibility can be described as the relaxation of tight muscles, which will allow the body to function better. Proper flexibility allows the nervous systm and muscles to communicate more efficiently. This is called “neuromuscular communication.”
You may remember learning about the “kinetic chain.” If not, that’s okay. We will keep this short and simple. It is very important to understand how this works. The kinetic chain of the body is comprised of the muscular system, the skeletal system, and the nervous system. These are some pretty important components, wouldn’t you say? The kinetic chain is the cornerstone of a sound therapy training program. If just one segment of the chain is misaligned and not functioning properly, patterns of dysfunction begin to develop. These patterns of dysfunction are referred to as “postural distortions.”
It is crucial to understand that your body’s kinetic chain is to always seek the path of least resistance as you go about your day and exercise. For exampll havll also find dudring your exercise program that you wile, when you bend down to pick something up off the floor, do you bend at the knees and squat down properly using your quadriceps and glutes, or do you tend to use your lower back by bending at the hips? Most people use their back, because it’s the path of least resistance. You will also find during your exercise program that you will have a strong tendency to break from proper form, because it is easier on the muscle. But, doing so can lead to tightness, por posture, muscle imbalances, and injury. Don’t worry, we are here to help you correct this; however, you need to be willing to perform the assigned stretches we will be discussing.
Benefits of Flexibility Training on the Chain
1. Correcting muscle imbalances
2. Increasing joint range of motion
3. Relieving joint stress
4. Improving the extension of tendons
5. Maintaining the normal length of all muscles
6. Improving nerve-to-muscle communication (neuromuscular efficiency)
7. Improving overall function
Loren encourages you to go to http://www.marketplacewellnesscenter.com for examples and pictures of proper stretching techniques.
The Cumulative Injury Cycle
Poor posture and repetitive movements create dysfunction within the kinetic chain. This dysfunction is treated in the body as an injury and, as a result, the body will initiate the repair process termed the “cumulative injury cycle.” Here is how it works.
Explanation – Any trauma to the tissue of the body creates inflammation. Inflammation, in turn, activates the body’s pain receptors and initiates a protective mechanism, increasing muscle tension and causing a muscle spasm. As a result of the spasm, adhesions (or knots) begin to form in the soft tissue. This then prevents our nerves from communicating with our muscles properly, even though our brain is trying to send the signals. This causes muscular imbalances, and the cycle then repeats itself.
This cycle can quickly compound and can seem impossible to get out of. However, with the proper flexibility and therapy training, you can become free of this cycle.
Take the time in your busy schedule to stretch your body!! It will enhance the overall quality of your life and give you greater quality of movement with reducing your risk of pulling a muscle or tendon. As always please consult your Physician or Physical Therapist before starting any new exercise program. You are welcome to schedule a free consultation with Loren at Marketplace Physical Therapy Redlands.
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Marketplace Physical Therapy has four 6,000 square foot wellness centers in Southern California. We offer Physical Therapy, Metabolic Weight Loss Programs, Personal Training and Gym Memberships through Anytime Fitness.