The Benefits of Assisted Stretching
Stretching: an often overlooked component of health and wellness.
Written by Jenn Giamo
The most underrated and often overlooked component of an exercise routine is stretching. Maybe you don’t realize it’s importance or you don’t think you have enough time, or maybe you’re just unsure of what you’re doing.
First, let’s dive into the importance of stretching: it improves your flexibility, which leads to increased mobility and greater range of motion, as well as less stress on your muscles during daily activity and exercise. It also helps to lubricate your joints, allowing your body to move more freely and with less pain while restoring muscle balance and promoting circulation.
Dynamic Stretching consists of controlled leg and arm swings that take you (gently!) to the limits of your range of motion.
Active Stretching is where you assume a position and then hold it there with no assistance other than using the strength of your agonist muscles. The tension of the agonists in an active stretch helps to relax the muscles being stretched (the antagonists)
Isometric Stretching/PNF: During an isometric contraction, some of the resting fibers are being pulled upon from both ends by the muscles that are contracting. The result is that some of those resting fibers stretch! (PNF: It is not really a type of stretching but is a technique of combining passive stretching and isometric stretching in order to achieve maximum static flexibility)
Although assisted stretching is focused mainly on PNF or isometric holds, it’s important to incorporate all methods for maximum benefits. However, with assisted stretching, your body is more relaxed as it’s not engaging other muscles to perform the work.
Having a trained professional manipulate your muscles and joints is like getting a deep massage with the positive affects of (temporary) muscle lengthening. I say temporary because you can’t actually change the length of a muscle permanently; it will always contract back to its original position, but stretching will give the ability to do so with ease. You might think this type of activity is reserved for elite athletes or exercise enthusiasts but everyone can benefit from an assisted stretch. If you sit at a desk all day, chances are your neck is tight, your head is pulled forward and your shoulders are rounded. And contrary to that, someone who is on their feet all day may have lower back pain, tight hips or stiffness in their legs. And of course, there are the weekend warriors who push themselves past their limits and don’t properly cool down after their workout.
Wouldn't it feel great to counteract all of that with an amazing, full body stretch? And even better if you didn’t have to leave your house?
Trainers in Transit’s Home Stretch Program does exactly that! Our highly skilled, trained professionals meet you wherever you are for a 25 or 50 minute session focused on your specific needs.
Restore, relax, rejuvenate. Move freely without discomfort. Prevent injury or speed recovery. Improve posture, and maybe even get a little taller!