Stretching is one of the most underrated activities out there, no less important than doing cardio or strength training. Unfortunately, many people do not remember to include stretching as a part of their daily exercise routine, and are missing out of its many benefits. Here are five things that stretching will do for you, and why you should absolutely include it in your everyday activities to reap the many benefits.
Energize your mornings
Unless you’re one of those rare people that wake up with the energy of a five year old, it is likely that you hit the snooze button a few times before begrudgingly get out of bed. After a whole night of sleeping, your whole body feels stagnant and somehow still tired even if you got your recommended eight hours of sleep. Stretching is one of the best ways to energize your body in the morning, and feel it all throughout the rest of the day. By stretching, you are waking up each muscle that is used, allowing it to get much needed blood and oxygen. By having a morning stretching routine you are preparing your body for the day that is to come.
Keep you moving throughout the day
By stretching in the morning, as well as before and after exercising, you are keeping your body from becoming stagnant throughout the day, which can happen especially with people who work at a desk for most of the week. By staying mobile in your daily activities you will continue to be energized even through the 3 o’clock slump. If you are sitting at a desk for most of the day, try getting up and stretching every hour.
Become attuned to your body’s needs
If you participate in specific stretching activities like yoga, you will learn to listen to your body and become attuned to the way it needs to be run. It is important to be aware of your body’s abilities and needs so that you can provide the best care for it throughout the years, as well be able to recognize when something isn’t working quite right.
Stretching regularly allows your body to be used to moving and being challenged. People who do not stay active or stretch are much more susceptible to painful and immobilizing injuries. By stretching, you keep your machine active and running, and the supporting muscles in tip top shape to be able to grow with you and carry you through the many activities you do. Be sure that if you are starting a new exercise routine you talk to your doctor so you can be aware of the type of stretching exercises you need to do. Some types of exercise require more static types of stretching while others need more dynamic stretches.
Keep you flexible for years to come
The benefits of stretching add up over the years to ultimately allow you to use your body efficiently and comfortably for years to come. Muscles and bones that have been regularly stretched will be loyal in their response to your care over the years. Take care of your body, and it will take care of you for years to come!
Over the course of a year there are more than 200,000 cases of ACL knee injuries, and 100,000 of these knees get reconstructed annually. Sometimes these painful injuries are avoidable with the practice and use of correct form and continuous strengthening of muscles. However, some are totally unavoidable no matter how much you try to prevent them. Let’s take a deeper look into these all too common injuries, how they affect people, and what methods you can use to prevent them from happening to you.
How an ACL injury happens:
When you have an ACL injury this means that an anterior cruciate ligament, usually used in keeping your knee stable, has been torn. These tears range from mild, a small tear, to severe, when the ligament completely tears or when the ligament and part of the bone are separated from the rest of the bone. This can sneakily happen over the course of time, or in a really sudden and painful moment.
Most ACL injuries happen while playing agility sports, the most reported being football, soccer, skiing, and basketball. These career halting knee injuries are sidelining athletes at an alarming rate, and some are never able to play to their fullest ability after recovering. 70% of these are from non-contact, like when an athlete slows down, changes direction, or lands after jumping. The remaining 30% occur from direct contact, such as taking a direct hit to the knee during a football game. Athletes commonly describe hearing a “pop” when the injury happens. This type of injury is most prevalent in people 15-45 years of age because of their more active lifestyle and higher participation in sports.
Long term effects for high school athletes & college players
There is a large number of high school and college student athletes whose careers in sports are affected by an ACL injury. For those who have a very seriously torn ACL, this may mean their career in sports is shelved. This is because a torn ACL can stop an athlete from playing for 6-12 months, often in the most vital part of the season if they are high school athletes hoping to get a college scholarship by playing in the college athletics program. For college athletes, they may end up losing their scholarships if they get injured during the season, and are not able to play again. Some end up having to leave the university and foot their own hospital bills. Even if they do heal, and are able to play, some are never able to go back to their original ability. However this all depends on how serious the injury was, and how driven and dedicated they are about recovering from it. A large amount of athletes affected by this injury make a complete recovery and are able to successfully return to the playing field, with a wiser outlook on taking care of their bodies.
What should you to reduce the risk of serious knee injury?
Practice conscious training! Don’t simply attend practice and think you are getting everything you need from it, make sure you are strengthening your muscles and stretching correctly to maintain a body that flows with you. Practice correct form in any of the movements you continuously do in your specific sport. It is also important to get screened for injury risks! Get an evaluation of your current strength, function, flexibility, and body mechanics. This will not only show you any areas that may be lacking, and exposing you to the risk of an injury, but also give you the chance to work on those before a serious injury occurs.
Get involved in a training program that is designed to correct any deficiencies found in a physical test. One of the most innovative methods is called Sportsmetrics. This training not only increases your muscular power and jump height, but also decreases the amount of impact forces at the knee. Sportsmetrics is a jump training program that is made up of dynamic warm-ups, strength training, jump/plyometric drills, and flexibility exercises. It is a prevention program that is made to increase neuromuscular control, improve balance, and teach avoidance strategies when sudden risky situations appear. It will also help you increase your vertical jump height by an average of 10%, improve landing mechanics, and reduce side-to-side movements at the knee. The program is designed and structured to guide the athlete with everything from technique development to performance enhancement.
By making sure that you are strengthening your legs and practicing correct form in everything you do you are ensuring that you will not become another number in a statistic. Take care of your body and it will take care of you!
ACL injuries are every athlete’s nightmare. No one wants to get sidelined with this type of injury, however, it’s one of the most common among young athletes. So what can you do to prevent yourself from getting benched? Here are some tips to make sure you take care of your knees properly.
Learn to Move
When we were babies, so much of our time was dedicated to learning how to move, how to balance our bodies to stand up and explore. Years later, this still holds to be true when we need to learn to move our bodies in a way that we are protecting the valuable assets that allow us to move so freely. It is very important to develop a good sense of body awareness, strength, and balance to correctly support your knees and ankles. To prevent ACL injuries it is vital to learn how to move with correct alignment to protect your knees. Make sure to always move, jump, land, and stop with your knees directly over your feet. Never allow your knees to collapse inward. To be sure your legs are able to support all of the parts that make them up, it is very important to develop strength in your hips and thighs. If you practice sports, always be sure to warm up and stretch before games and practice. You could come up with a routine that includes a variety of drills that practice the common movements you make when playing, practice these until their movements become second nature.
If you are part of a sports team, and are very active throughout a certain season of the year, make sure that you do not wait to get in shape when the season starts. By starting your training prior to the season you will ensure you are doing everything you can to reduce your change of a sports injury on the field. Remember, get fit to play; don’t play to get fit! Sportsmetrics is a method that uses both neuromuscular retraining techniques and sport-specific enhancement sets to significantly improve the skill of the player and their aerobic fitness. This method is specifically concentrated on decreasing the risk of injury to your knees. When an athlete completes our Sportsmetrics training their risk for ACL injury is significantly decreased.
Here are three great basic principles to follow in order to strengthen your body to reduce the chance of injuries. We maximize these in our ACL prevention program:
- Warm up: This will get blood circulating to your muscles and joints to prepare them for action.
- Stretch: By continuously working on your flexibility you will be better able to maintain a fluid and ideal form. Be sure to include stretches for your thighs, calves, and hips, and pay special attention to any areas that are tight, or that you will use a lot during practice.
- Strengthen: By having strength in your hips and thighs you are providing your knees the support they need to prevent ACL injuries. Some of the most common exercises are squats and lunges to build strength. Exercises that build up core strength, balance, agility in changing direction, and jumping and landing safely are some of the most important types you should include when considering a routing to build for the care of your body’s ability. Whatever you do make sure to use a good technique. The quality of movement, rather than quantity, should be your goal.
On a final note, after doing all of these strengthening exercises don’t forget the most vital one of all: Rest. Don’t allow a full schedule of practices and games get in the way of making your technique perfect, because tired sloppy movements are one of the most common causes of injuries. Rest is absolutely essential for any improvements or gains to occur. Getting enough sleep, scheduling in rest days, and strategizing hard workouts with easier workouts are all important ways of reducing your risk of injury and ultimately making you the strong and powerful athlete you are.
If you are interested in learning more about the Sportsmetrics program read more about it here or call us today at 865-951-2975 to schedule a consultation.
If you have a desk job then there is a good chance that you have experienced back pain from sitting all day. We’ve all been told that we need to have good posture, but who actually knows what that looks like? Well, our physical therapists do! Here are some tips to help you maintain good posture throughout the day at your job:
Our spine is naturally curved in multiple places. When we sit all day we often wind up just having one large hunch as we lean over our desk or into the computer. To help maintain those curves here are a few tips:
- Sit at the edge of your chair with your knees lower than your hips
- Use a towel roll behind your lower back and scoot back in your chair.
- Get up! Don’t sit too long. Take regular breaks to stand and walk.
Bethany Shipp is one of our resident physical therapists and in this video she explains what is possibly happening when someone experiences pain on the inside of the knee during side lunges. Knee pain is one of the most common orthopedic ailments that we treat at Tennessee Sports Medicine Group. Watch below to find out what you can do to prevent or ease this pain.
Possible causes of knee pain:
- Muscle tightness
- Adductor tightness
- Cartilage issues
- Ligament issues
- Irritated versa
Tips to prevent knee pain:
Stretch around your knee:
- Inner-leg (adductors)
Do three to four reps of these and hold each for 30 seconds.