Sitting too much?!?… Implement these easy tips to increase flexibility!

How many of you sit at your desk for several hours daily and forget to get up and move around?  When you have a busy schedule, your time is preoccupied with meetings, assignments, and deadlines.  You barely have enough time to grab a bite to eat, let alone use the restroom when you are having a busy day.  Stretching to increase your flexibility is the last thing on your mind.  Maintaining proper flexibility is the key to preventing long-term chronic problems resulting in neck and mid-back pain, upper back pain, headaches, and shoulder pain.

Flexibility is the physiological maximal range of motion of a given movement performed passively without producing pain or severe discomfort, according to Jeffrey Tucker, DC of Dynamic Chiropractic: “Flexibility and Mobility Training: The Ease of Helping Patients Who Sit Too Much”.  Different forms of stretching to increase flexibility include:

  1. Sustained stretch for connective tissue and collagen, e.g., fascia, capsule contracture, scar tissue.
  2. Post-isometric relaxation (PIR), hold-relax, contract-relax for contractile tissue that is atrophied and short (post-immobilization muscle shortening).

Most of us hold our stretches 15-20 seconds when we stretch.  Think of your body like a big rubber band.  The longer you hold the stretches, the looser the rubber band.  Increasing elasticity in your muscles is a vital component to increasing flexibility and not remaining so tense and tight*. By just stretching 2-3 days per week for 15-20 minutes/day, you can begin to change how your muscles function, and decrease your pain and muscle spasm(s) that may be present.

*Maintaining proper posture is vitally important to prevent muscle spasms, chronic muscle shortness, and long-term injuries to your neck, back, and shoulder.  

These easy tips will help your flexibility, but it may take time and be patient.  When performing certain stretches, please consult with your chiropractor, physical therapist or other healthcare professional who has knowledge of proper stretches to recommend to you as part of your treatment. Stay tuned to next month’s blog!

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