I’m not an athlete, why do I need to stretch? Think about how it feels when you first rise from bed in the morning or when you get out of a car after a long trip. Do you experience soreness, stiffness, tightness, and maybe even pain? Every human body is made to move. Our joints, tendons, ligaments, muscles, and even our bone structure is designed to MOVE. Stretching and strengthening the structures which support the spine is an essential component of overall spine health. A healthy back is one that is strong and flexible.
Stretching happens when a muscle or group of muscles is intentionally elongated through movement with the goal to improve the muscle’s elasticity and flexibility.
Strengthening happens when you regularly stimulate the muscles. Muscles are made up of fibers. These fibers require oxygen and other nutrients as well as regular stimulation to remain healthy. The more you stimulate your muscles, the more you build strong, flexible and healthy muscle fibers.
Stretching and strengthening work synergistically. In other words, they work together to create a greater effect than what could be created separately. You can’t strengthen your muscles well without stretching them. When a muscle becomes contracted, tight, or ridged the fibers are not functioning properly and can become painful to move. Therefore, routine stretching is an essential element to everyday function and wellness.
You might be thinking; yes, but I am never going to be an athlete or a prima ballerina. The goal of regular intentional stretching and strengthening movements is not to perfect your physique or touch your toes. The goal is to foster a balanced support structure for your spine. One that is both strong and flexible to carry you throughout daily life.
Below you will find links to resources for you to utilize as a guide to stretching and strengthening exercises. Like all things in life, dedication and consistency is key. So, take a few minutes each day and create a routine for your spine health.