As temperatures start to warm up, many of you will start to hit the streets, trails, and parks to exercise outdoors. It’s great way to get fresh air, connect with friends, have fun with the family, and add some diversity to your gym workouts. Before you start that workout though, be sure you’ve had a chance to visit with your physician to keep you safe and healthy. Additionally, it’s not uncommon for people to include a physical therapist to their health team. Physical therapy is not just about rehabbing post-surgery, but also includes a very wide variety of opportunities for preventative care. So before you risk injury, here are five stretching tips that you can include into your routine today!

Move into and out of a stretch smoothly
Jerky or sudden movements can cause injury. Take your time as you move through your stretches. Your physical therapist can even provide you the best stretches for the activity that you plan to do; running, walking, sports, hiking, biking, you name it. Remember to breathe as you move through your stretches. Holding your breath is not advised.

Vary technique and position
Your PT will show you key stretches and may even show you variations if you’re unable to perform the proper stretch. Don’t get discouraged if you need to do a modified stretch, the goal is to get you healthy over time. Before you know it, you’ll be a pro at your stretch routine as well as your workout.

Make adjustments
Feel tightness? Maybe you’re feeling a pinch, or you have a nagging injury. Don’t try to be tough. There is no truth to the saying “no pain, no gain.” Pain will only cause you more pain, and that’s when you need to visit your PT to get an evaluation. Exercise with an injury could potentially put you out longer than you’d like.

Take rests
A good stretch routine can be tiresome. It’s meant to prepare the body for exercise, but you’d be surprised at how much tension an gather at key points on your body. In between stretches, breathe, rest, and then move onto the next one.

Don’t force yourself
The key is to listen to your body. You may have a plan to push hard, but if you’ve had consecutive days of rigorous workouts, your body might need a rest. If you’re feeling tight and stretching become painful, or you’re just not feeling it, then don’t force your body to do something you’re not prepared for. Take a day off and enjoy a day at home, or enjoying the city around you.

If you have any problems stretching or need help understanding what stretches are best for your choice of exercise, please consult with your doctor or your team at Momentum to schedule a Pain Relief Assessment online or call (210) 888-1278. Be sure to follow us on Facebook as well for daily tips and success stories to keep you inspired and healthy!

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