I was at my youngest daughter’s soccer game the other day and while waiting for the game to start, I decided to do some stretching on the sidelines. One of the other parents called out to me and said, “you’re really flexible, do you do yoga”?
Although I think Yoga is incredibly great for your body and your health, I unfortunately do not attend regular Yoga classes. However, I do two things on a regular basis that helps me to stay flexible. First and foremost, I get chiropractic adjustments regularly. Secondly, I stretch just about every day.
Flexibility is the quality of something bending without breaking. Most of us think of flexibility in terms of muscles, but don’t forget about flexibility in your joints too. All of you have heard me say time and time again, “Life is Motion”. This statement is so true for your muscles and your joints.
Keeping motion in your joints helps maintain flexibility in your joints and your spinal structures. If your spine has flexibility, then your nerves will have some flexibility too. This will take pressure and tension off of your nerves allowing them to work more efficiently, thus resulting in muscles that are less tense.
Muscle flexibility is very important too. If your muscles are too tight, they will restrict your joints, thus decreasing your joint flexibility. Muscles and joints have a very intimate relationship where the status of one will effect the other.
How do you increase your flexibility? Two very easy ways. First, make sure you are adjusted on a regular schedule. This schedule may differ for all of us. I have patients who come in once a week, once every other week, or even every few weeks. Most patients get adjusted once a month to ensure everything in their spine is moving correctly.
Secondly, start stretching! I recommend putting together a stretching routine that you can do right before bed. Stretch each muscle for roughly 30 seconds and then drink 6-8 ounces of water. This will help you sleep better and feel less tight in the morning. With stretching, consistency is the key. Stretching programs do not work if you stretch every few days or so. Your muscles need the consistent stretches to adapt to a new length, creating less tension and more flexibility.
I hope this article helps and inspires you to start stretching on a more regular basis. Good luck!!
Dr Spencer Charlet