exercise · mobility · motivational

Stretching and Mobility

Hey everybody, how are you all?! We got more snow last night, only a few inches though, but enough to make people freak out again and act like the world is coming to end. Do they seriously forget how to drive in the snow after a few hours? Must be the case, so please people, remember we live in the Midwest, it snows here, be prepared and stop freaking out, that is when problems occur.

Any-who, I have been a busy bee the last few days getting prepped for my thesis defense on Friday, working on that top-secret project of mine, and working. Oh and shoveling snow, that was the highlight of Sunday, the near foot of snow.

I am very nervous about my thesis defense, but the light at the end of the tunnel is blinding me it is so close right now, I just have to stay calm and remind myself that I know my thesis better than anybody. I will kick its ass. I will.

I was a bit unmotivated over the end of last week and last weekend to work on my secret project, but my husband has been really supportive and encouraging me to keep moving forward. So I am and it is going well. One of these days I will actually tell you all what is going on, but until then you get to guess and only imagine what it could be. Trust me though, it will be worth the wait.

Work is very quickly getting busier and busier and I am very excited for what is to come. I feel like I finally fit in someplace and do not dread it like I have other places in the past. Still have a few things to learn, but that is what makes each day different from the other, always have something new to learn and accomplish.

Yesterday, my clients got the chance to laugh at me a bit as I was incredibly sore from my workout on Monday. My hamstrings, quads, glutes, and lats were giving me a hard time and demonstrating a few exercises became rather difficult. At the end of one of my classes I foam rolled with the participants and afterwards was able to move more and my ROM in all directions was much improved. So why am I bringing it up? Well….

When you go through a tough workout it is so important to incorporate stretching, self-myofascial release (foam rolling, lacrosse ball, etc), and/or ROM exercises to ensure the health and safety of your muscles. When we workout, we are creating tiny micro-tears in our muscles and post-workout they not only need proper nutrition, but proper upkeep. I can admit to you all that I suck at doing this most of the time, however, I try everyday to stretch and foam roll at least one to two times to lengthen my muscles and get blood flowing through them.

If I had remembered to do that more often yesterday I might have been less sore than I actually was and not walking around like a cowboy who just got off their horse after riding it all day long. Now, there are many different views about is stretching is beneficial before or after exercise and my thoughts are this…it depends on the situation. I feel that athletes of any caliper should go through even a small amount of static stretching or dynamic stretching exercises when they are first getting ready for their game, match, meet, etc. However, I do believe that too much before hand could be too much and hinder performance. Every athlete does have their own beliefs and traditions they do before they compete, so ultimately it is up to how your body feels, not what science says (again, my opinion, it is ok to not agree). Here is a link to an article on stretching put out by the Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/fitness/in-depth/stretching/art-20047931 

Foam rolling on the other hand I do feel like is something any athlete or person who works out on a regular basis should incorporate into their post-workout routine. During exercise we do tend to develop muscle knots or extra tension within our muscles and surrounding tissues. Foam rolling is used to help release that extra tension. In my experience trainers use similar methods, but do tend to have their own method in using the foam roller. I do like to foam roll my own clients, but sometimes I the trainer cannot find the exact spot that might be tight in someone, so people do like to do it themselves as well. When a spot/muscle is super tight (say the IT band) it is suggested to find the worst spot and hold it there for at least 10 seconds and after that slowly start to roll up and down with the amount of pressure that feels best for you. DO NOT roll so hard that it causes severe pain, that is not going to feel good for the area being worked or for you mentally. If you have never used this technique before, I would suggest asking a trainer or PT (physical therapist) how it is done for best instruction before using videos from the internet. Check out more on self-myofascial release here.

I just discovered trigger point at my new job and it is in the same family as self-myofascial release. It is similar to using a lacrosse ball, but it does a better job pin-pointing the exact spot that feels tight. I use frequently on my right hip and low back as that is one of the areas that always bugs me and it works wonders. I go from having severe pain shooting through my hip to being able to move with absolutely not problems whatsoever. It is a great feeling. There are all sorts of pieces of equipment in the Trigger Point brand, you can check it out here.

So, long story short, stretch, move around, let your body be released of the “toxins” that build up after working out, you WILL feel a difference. And it is one of the best things you can do to keep your muscles healthy.

Thoughts to ponder for the day:

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Have a great day everybody!

-Courtny

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