January 2017 Newsletter

Dr Jeremiah

Stretching

by Dr. Jeremiah Davis

So stretching… We have all been told it is a good thing to do but sometimes it just gets left out. Primarily, we think of stretching in terms of something that is done after a workout or some other form of exercise. Lives are busy, and fitting in that extra time at the end of the workout to stretch can be tough. However, when we neglect that few minutes of post workout exercise we can be missing out on some great benefits.

It’s true, stretching is the essential opposite of the coin to exercise. Exercise, can strengthen muscles and increase their ability to carry greater loads or help us lift heavier objects. Having strong muscles can help us effectively deal with the daily physical stressors we face. However, exercise without stretching can lead to chronically tight musculature. When we work a muscle the muscle creates byproducts as the result of that work. The most common one is lactic acid. When we stretch and relax a muscle this cycle creates a pumping mechanism which pushes out toxins and allows fresh nutrients into the surrounding tissue. This will result in lessened post exercise muscle soreness and quicker recovery between workouts. Other benefits of stretching include: stress relief, improvement of posture, increased flexibility, increases stamina, decreases risk of injury, and improved athletic performance.

So when should you stretch, is there a proper way to stretch, and how often should you stretch? Those are all great questions! A general answer is you should stretch when your muscles are tight. This could mean stretching in the morning when you wake up, as muscles have been relatively motionless throughout the night. This will help to get your joints moving and have the added benefit of energizing you in the morning. (It is important to note that any stretching involving the spine should not be done until at least one hour after waking. This is due to the fact that the spinal ligaments are tightest in the morning due to the extra water content of the intervertebral discs. Stretching right when one gets up could cause extra pressure to the spine). Stretching can be done throughout the day as well. It can be done relatively easily and doesn’t have to take a lot of time. If you have a desk job or some other job where you are not moving about during the day. Getting up at least once every hour and doing a few light stretches can be a good way to get your blood flowing and increase alertness. If you can not get up from your desk you can point and flex your toes for a few repetitions with a hold at the end of each motion. Doing so helps promote good venous return of blood to the heart and lungs. Having a quick stretching routeine where you hit some of the major muscle groups before bed can be a soothing way to unwind and add to a good night’s sleep. Stretching throughout the day can be a way to “get it in” without feeling like a big time commitment.

When you first set up a stretching routine there are a couple pointers to keep in mind:
– always warm up a muscle before you stretch (10-15 repetitions of a muscle action is sufficient)
– start with a light stretch and work into a deeper one. (don’t over do it).
– as stated above wait at least one hour after waking to do any stretching involving the spine.
– avoid bouncing into a stretch or other ballistic type stretches
– hold stretches for about 15 seconds per muscle group (longer as you are able and flexibility increases).
– keep it simple a simple stretching routine is one you will be able to stick with. You can always add more later.
– mix it up! Try different stretches to vary the routine.

Sample stretching routine for the upper and lower body.

Upper body stretches for Triceps, pectoralis (chest), lower and middle back.
Lower body stretches for quadracepts (front of thigh), hamstrings (back of thigh), adductors (groin), gastrocnemius (calf muscle).

tricep stretch

Tricep strectch

This is a basic tricep stretch. The hand of the arm to be stretched is placed behind the head. The other hand grasps at the elbow pulling gently towards the back of the head.

pec stretch

An easy way to stretch the pectoralis major muscle (chest) is to position yourself into a corner as shown. Here arms are shoulder height with hands overhead. One foot is forward and one back. Keep the upper body straight vertically (no bend in your back) and glide forward at the hips leading with the chest.

stretches

Child’s pose (arms out and arms tucked versions)
This pose is meant to stretch the musculature of the lower and middle back (errector spinae of lumbar and thoracic spine). This pose should be held with space for the belly in between the knees. The forhead is placed on the floor (or on a towel for comfort and breathing purposes). Long slow deep breathes are taken in and out. This pose should be held for two minutes to start with longer times as you get used to the pose. Note: breathing in this pose can be an issue for some people. If you feel short of breath come out of the stretch. (If this is an issue you can always ask your chiropractor for another way to stretch this muscle group).

hamstring stretch

Now for the lower body:

Hamstrings and adductors- V stretch.
Here you will stretch to one leg, then the other and finally to the middle as shown in the picture. (Stretching to each leg hits the hamstring group and stretching to the middle will lengthen the adductors). When stretching to either leg place arms on either side of leg as you slide your torso, head and hands towards your foot. Keep the toes of the stretching leg pointed to the ceiling. Lastly, stretch to the middle. You can guage your flexibility progress by how far your hands can comfortably reach on the floor in front of you.

calf stretch

Calf stretch using step.

The easiest way to stretch the calf muscle is to use the stairs. (Use stairs with a railing where you can stabilize your body so you do not slip or fall). For this stretch stand on the bottom step with the balls of both feet. The heels of both feet will hang over the edge. You can control how much stretch is applied by how far you push your heels down towards the ground. (Be careful with this stretch is it can be overdone. First start by going down only so far as you begin to feel a stretch in the muscle. Using a sneaker with good tread will help prevent slipping.)

So that’s it. A quick stretching routine with seven exercises for some of the major muscle groups. Hold each muscle group for 15 seconds. Go through all the muscle groups two times each. Child’s pose is held for 30 seconds and up to 5 minutes depending upon ability. (Total estimated stretch time: 4 minutes or 8 minutes (depending on how long you stretch in child’s pose).

There you have it! A quick and easy way to stretch and relax your body this holiday season.

Happy New Year Wishes 2017

Have a happy and healthy holiday season from all of us at
Riverview Chiropractic

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news notice
Dr. Tomko head shot

Congratulations to Dr. Danielle Tomko, as she recently has been Certified from the Academy of Family Practice and Council on Chiropractic Pediatrics (CACCP certified)! This is a 200-hour post-graduate certification in the care of children and pregnant women.

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Fruit-Skewer-Elves

Recipe Of The Month

Fruit Skewer Elves

A healthy holiday recipe idea.

Ingredients:

12 cocktail sticks or short bamboo skewers
12 seedless green grapes
12 strawberries, hulled
1 firm banana, peeled and cut into
12 thin rounds
1 mozzarella stick, cut into 12 rounds

Directions:

For each skewer, thread a green grape to the bottom of the skewer to create the elf face. Top with a round banana slice to make the pale trim around the hat, then an upside-down hulled strawberry to form the pointy hat. Add a mozzarella round to make the pompom at the point of the hat. Serve right away.

For more healthy recipes, visit: http://www.naturalawakeningsboston.com/