A regular stretching session is a must for anyone who hopes to increase and maintain their flexibility and range of motion. Besides these, stretching your muscles regularly will also significantly improve your mobility and overall performance. However, if you’re currently injured, you’ll need to implement stretching as safely and as carefully as possible.
How to Stretch Safely After an Injury
Never Stretch a Torn or Pulled Muscle
Did you know that stretching an already overstretched, torn, or pulled muscle will only worsen your condition? For this reason, knowing the severity of your injury is extremely important before deciding to do some stretching exercises. This means that you’ll need to get the expert advice of a physician before you stretch.
Follow the R.I.C.E. Protocol
If you’re dealing with mild muscle strains, your doctor may advise you to use the R.I.C.E. protocol. This includes RESTING the affected muscle as much as you can, ICING the tissue to decrease the inflammation, COMPRESSING the muscle by using your compression gear, and ELEVATING the limb in question while resting.
Don’t Wait Too Long to Stretch
In case you’re not aware, scar tissues can quickly develop after an injury. Since this is your body’s normal response, it works to reattach the damaged muscle fibers. However, compared to the muscle fibers that were initially damaged, scar tissue isn’t as strong and as flexible. To combat this, you need to stretch your muscles once your inflammation subsides.
Build Incremental Increases in Flexibility
Although stretching may involve a certain degree of discomfort, you shouldn’t be aggressively pushing your muscle beyond its current range. Overstretching will only lead you back to muscle strains and pulls. It’s best to slowly build incremental flexibility increases over time without pushing it too far.
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