Is stretching necessary?

Active Stretching

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”1321″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]I’m sure traditionally, everybody has been told numerous times to stretch before and after exercises, or in the morning before you get going or at night before you go to bed. And, I do get a lot of patients coming in and saying that, “I know I should do my stretches, and I don’t stretch enough.” But is stretching really necessary? Yes and No.

Growing up, I’ve always been able to bend myself backwards, or in half, rotate my joints to 360°, and anything you name it, I can do it. And no I’m not a gymnast; I just have hyper flexible joints! And right now, just because our world has been taken over so much by emoji’s, I bet every single one of you have already expressed in a million emoji’s to what they’ve just read above! LOL…

With flexibility comes a lot of mobility, so do I need to stretch when I’m that mobile? The answer is no, because I can bend in half and not be able to feel the stretch. I have learnt that for myself when I started going to crossfit. While a lot of people have really tight muscles and reduced range of movements, the mobility drills we do just before we start on our weights and our WODs (workout of the day), would benefit a lot of people, however, I have found that I injure myself easy, as when I stretch or perform those mobility drills, my muscles and joints become too lax to support me and I hurt myself easier by spraining my joints.

Enough of me, and let’s talk about technicality and fancy terms…

So do all of us need to stretch? No. If you were someone that struggles to touch your toes or have difficulty squatting at the gym, then stretching would be necessary for you to achieve that range of movement. However, if you have already got that flexibility, and you struggle to do movements like back squats, deadlifts – putting it in day-to-day life, bending and lifting something, reaching or lunging, then you may need to improve on your mobility!

So what’s the difference between flexibility and mobility?

Flexibility is your joints ability to go through range as far as it is structurally capable – this is your passive range of movement, and to determine that, someone like a physiotherapist is able to do that for you, while you are in a relaxed position and they simply just lift your arm up as far as your joint can go, for example. And, mobility is simply how far you can move that arm actively by yourself.

So while your joints may have the flexibility, it is quite possible to lack mobility. Or if your joints are not flexible, then you may lack both of them. This is when stretching comes into play, and it will definitely give you that extra movement before your exercises or even doing activities of your daily living.

As for me, when I have both flexibility and mobility, stretching and mobility drills don’t quite work for me, as after doing them, I can’t lift heavier weights and have no control, as I have stretched out all my muscles till they are relaxed, so they don’t protect me! Therefore, I use a simple yet precious piece of resistance band to activate my muscles, whether it be doing clamshells, shoulder internal and external rotations, and so on; so that I have that muscle contraction and activation to support my joints to be able to perform my weight lifts and have the control through my movements.

To make it sound less complicated, everybody is very different in terms of their body composition, structure, joints and muscle contractility. While something works really well for a group of people, it may not work at all for another. Whether you’re someone who’s very flexible or very tight and have no mobility, there’s always something that can be catered to you to enhance or improve the quality of your movements without getting injured, may it be at the gym, at work, or even doing chores at home.

So come and see us here at Enhance Physiotherapy, we have abundance of stretches, mobility drills and even muscle activation drills to help you with all your needs!

Simmi xxx

Simmi works full time at our Thornlie Clinic. To book an appointment with Simmi call 6161 8901 or simply book online.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

What is Pilates?

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”1977″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]Pilates is a form of exercise that involves low impact, small controlled movements to target flexibility and muscular strength and endurance.

Originally named “Contrology”, Pilates was developed in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates to rehabilitate WWI soldiers. It involves precise movements with an emphasis on alignment and breathing to strengthen key muscle groups and improve balance, coordination and stability in the entire body.

Traditional Pilates has a specific focus on developing a strong “core” (“core” consisting of the global and stabilising muscles around the abdomen, lower back and hips). From a rehabilitation point of view, our bodies have two muscular systems; a global muscle system and a stabilising muscle system. We usually do a fantastic job training and strengthening our global muscle system, however often neglecting the stabilising muscles. Unfortunately, over time this can lead to muscular dysfunctions and ultimately pain and injury. Pilates has a strong emphasis on correctly activating and isolating those smaller stabilising muscles that have been forgotten and left behind.

At Enhance Physiotherapy, our Pilates classes not only target “core” strength but also full body strength with the aim to just get our clients moving!  Our classes involve matwork exercises with various equipment to increase the intensity of the class.  Each exercise can be modified in difficulty from beginner to advanced and each class is tailored towards the specific goals or injuries of the clients attending.

Having recovered from an ACL reconstruction and more recently a lower back injury, I am a firm advocate of Pilates to assist in rehabilitating those important stabilising muscles essential for everyday movements and activities. Pilates has helped me tremendously to bounce back from injuries and to return to doing the things that I love faster and stronger. Now, I continue to practice and teach Pilates at least twice a week for injury prevention and maintenance, as I find it is a great way to enhance my other training and sports.

I strongly recommend Pilates classes to anyone rehabilitating back from an injury and looking to get stronger and fitter, and especially to those who may be injury-free and training to achieve that next level, goal or personal best!!

For more information regarding our group Pilates classes including prices and times, please call 9583 5165.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Delicious homemade granola bar recipe!

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”2565″ img_size=”medium” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]Homemade Granola Bars (Adapted from Minimalistbaker.com)

These homemade granola bars are my go to snack to keep me going throughout the day between patients. They are great because they are quick, easy, packed with energy and the biggest plus is that you can control what is in them. You can get as creative as you want and add in whatever you’d like to the base!

Ingredients

1 ½ cups rolled oats

¼  cup crunchy natural peanut butter or almond butter

¼  cup maple syrup

1 cup Medjool dates (about 10-11 dates)

1 cup roasted unsalted almonds

Optional add ins: handful of dark chocolate chips, pumpkin seeds, coconut, dried fruit, chia seeds, etc etc etc!

 Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 180C and line a baking tray with baking paper. Toast oats on tray for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Process dates in a food processor or blender/Nutribullet (add a dash of water). Add date mixture to the oats.
  3. Add almonds (and any optional add ins) into the mixing bowl.
  4. In a small saucepan, heat the nut butter and maple syrup on low heat, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes. Add to oat mixture and combine ingredients, thoroughly.
  5. Line an 8×8 inch baking dish or pan with baking paper. Add mixture to pan and use hands or spatula to flatten mixture, pressing down firmly to form bars.
  6. Put the bars into the freezer for 15 minutes to firm up.
  7. Remove from freezer and chop to make granola bars.
  8. Store in airtight container either in the fridge or freezer for the week.

Eat!!!

Stef x

Stef works full time at our Como Clinic. To book an appointment with Stef call 9583 5165 or simply book online![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]