Purpose of Stretching

  • Increase and maintain complete range of motion of the joint.
  • RelieveĀ  muscle soreness. Light exercise promotes a better supply of blood and oxygen to the muscles than complete rest, and should be pursued unless severity of injury to muscles or joints precludes further activity.
  • Help improve our capacity for activity. Stretched muscles require less energy for completion of movement.
  • Assists in decreasing unnecessary neuromuscular tension, promoting general body relaxation and reducing emotional stress.
  • Relieve muscle-joint stiffness associated with the aging process.
  • Increased musculotendinous extensiblity. Muscles can be stretched 1.6 times its resting length before it tears.
  • Elongate the fascia. Fascia provides the binding together muscle support system. Elasticity varies between individuals and is a major reason some individuals experience slower progress in flexibility attainment.
  • Help prevent joint sprains, muscle strains or tears including preventing re-injury to previous joint and muscle trauma.
  • Major part of the pre-activity warm-up increasing tissue temperature by an increased metabolic rate.
  • Part of the warm – down process increase blood flow to the fatigued area, eliminate toxic waste products from cells, reduce soreness, muscle relaxation and additional flexibility improvement.
  • Help provide greater potentials of physical and athletic skills.
  • Reduction of tightness that may contribute to pain, spasm or cramping.
  • Provides an important adjunct toward recovery during the rehabilitation process.

Reasons for Lack of Flexiblity

Flexibility and elasticity are synonyms for joint range of motion.
Primary determinants of FLEXIBILITY; MUSCULATURE AND FASCIA SURROUNDING THE JOINT. Each performance activity requires is own unique set of flexibility characteristics.

  1. Gymnastics
  2. Swimming
  3. Baseball
  4. Tennis
  5. Running
  6. Basketball
  7. Cycling

Lack of normal flexibility constrains the extent and quality of performance and contributes to certain ailments or injuries that may occur.
Lack of adequate flexibility cause the stretch reflex to exert restrictive force, limiting the desired movement and requiring more energy to overcome the stretch reflex.
The loss of tissue elasticity greatly increases the possibility of injury.

1. Muscle imbalance: Many times the agonist muscles are far weaker then the corresponding antagonist muscles on the opposite side of the joint.

  • Neurological conditions (Stroke, Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis, ALS, Cerebral Palsy, Post Polio, Scleroderma)
  • Spinal conditions (Scoliosis, Lordosis, Kyphosis)
  • Post Injury (fracture, sprain, strain)

2. The temporary or chronic inability to actively move a joint in a given direction because of paralysis, neurological disease, neurological injury or joint immobilization.

3. Repeated overuse of the muscle without maintaining a complete range of motion. Activities that are constantly performed without stretching, will result in tight joints and muscles.

  • Sports Movements (run, jump ,start, stop)
  • Repeated Sports Skill
  • Running
  • Cycling

4. The effects of aging. Aging affects muscle and fascia tissue elasticity. As we age, strength, bulk of muscle and tissue flexibility are more difficult to maintain.

  • Inactivity
  • Hypertonicity

5. Periods of rapid growth. Body coordination is affected during times of growth when the body displays rapid change in height or weight. Temporary loss of coordination as musculontendinous structure fails to keep up to the increased long bone or soft tissue growth.