Stretching exercises ~ How long do i hold them for
Stretching can be a key part of your exercise regimen. Stretching exercises may increase flexibility and improve the range of motion of your joints. Most trainers will tell you that before doing your stretching exercises, you should warm up with five to 10 minutes of light activity. Better yet, reserve stretching for after a workout. This is wrong. Stretching exercises should be done before any activity to warm up the muscles. And then the stretching exercises should be repeated at eh end of exercise to lengthen the muscles. Always keep stretching gentle. Don’t bounce. If you feel pain, you’ve stretched too far. Hold your stretching exercises for about 30 seconds, then switch sides and repeat. If you have a problem area or the stretch is particularly helpful for pain or discomfort, you may benefit from repeating the stretch. If you have any health conditions or injuries, talk to your doctor or physical therapist about which stretching exercises are right for you.
Flexibility and Collagen Remodeling
Scar tissue forms after injury to the normal collagen cells in the body. If you cut yourself, have surgery, or tear tissue in the body, scar tissue will develop. The development of scar tissue is part of the normal healing process in the body. Collagen is a substance that is present in all of our body parts. There is collagen in muscles, tendons, and ligaments. There is also collagen in skin and bones. The cellular makeup of collagen makes it very strong due to the alignment of collagen cells. It can resist tensile forces, such as stretching and pulling, without tearing or breaking. After injury to a muscle, tendon, skin, or ligaments in the body, the inflammatory process starts to heal the injury site. This process helps to ensure that the injured site is cleaned up and new cells are brought to the site that will soon become healthy tissue. Some of these new cells are collagen cells.
Unfortunately, the body does not know exactly how to arrange the collagen cells so that they become healthy tissue that can resist tensile and stretching forces. The collagen cells become a balled-up clump of tissue called scar tissue. Scar tissue remodeling occurs as you start to stretch and pull on it. The stretching of the scar tissue helps to align the collagen fibers to allow them to return to normal. This realignment of the collagen fibers makes the tissue better able to tolerate the forces that are placed on it during the day.
If you strain your hamstring muscle or tendon, for example, you’d follow the R.I.C.E protocol for a few days. After some healing has taken place, gentle stretching of the hamstring muscle is indicated to help ensure that the scar tissue is remodeled properly.
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