Stretching 101: Increasing Range of Motion Through Stretching

You have probably heard many times before to stretch, how it’s of great importance to your wellbeing to do so, but have you ever been informed of the benefits of regular flexibility training.

You may have heard of regular stretching to increase your ‘flexibility’, that itself is true. Stretching added into your day to day routine will increase your range of motion,  allowing you to move freely without restrictions around the joint. Our movement being restricted is known as the bodies mechanism to prevent possible injury, the feeling of ‘tightness’ is not your muscles being ‘tight’, its the tendon/ligament being pulled in a direction of discomfort.
This can cause muscle imbalances, these imbalances within the joints can cause bad posture and put you at risk of injury. You are constantly putting loads onto your body, every day we’re under the weight of gravity. Without the correct posture and full range of motion your body will bypass vital muscles that aid the right movement causing the feeling of ‘tightness’.

Our muscles are cased with three layers of tissue called fascia, which are connective tissues that can also hold tension and disable areas of motion. Therefore hand in hand and lifelong partner of flexibility training, myofascial release is applied in routines to soften and disengage tension before stretching. Causing slight inflammation, allowing more blood flow into the muscles and enable quicker clean and recovery of the muscles post training.

Bad posture is a lifelong ugly work of art, it is patterns of weak, overcompensating, underdeveloped/hypotrophic, overdeveloped/imbalanced skeletal and muscular development. So for every damaging pattern whether from work, training, sedentary habits, there are patterns of release combined with strengthening as this balance produces results. Unlike some stretching practices which only teach to loosen and relax, flexibility without strength and control can land you in other bad habits and situations.

When our bodies are warped outside of their healthy skeletal integrity, our nervous system has to work harder to reroute signals to our muscles. This then means that our muscles may not be firing at full capacity and reacting at full potential, decreasing your strength, agility and recovery.

Struggling to sleep alone or with your partner, both are down to stress and hormonal balance.
Stretching and myofascial release training brings your body into the autonomic nervous system state of relaxation, called the parasympathetic. By slowing things down and bringing awareness to the breath we’re inducing relaxation and producing melatonin that helps regulate circadian rhythm. This is vital for deep sleep, physical recovery and mental clarity.

With all things in life balance is key, for every action, there is a reaction!

– Antoinette Weatherley / Up Your ROM