Should I Stretch?

Are you feeling stiff and sore? Perhaps you pulled a muscle during exercise, and you think you could’ve avoided it if you had done some more preparatory stretches. If you’re reading this blog, chances are you’re one of two people – either you’re an excellent and frequent stretcher, or you know you don’t stretch enough. If you’re the former, good on you! If you’re the latter, don’t worry, you’re not alone and it’s never too late to start!

First things first: what does stretching actually do?

Stretching is a very effective way in the long- and short-term to improve flexibility in the body. Whether you prefer dynamic or static stretching, they’re both effective in helping keep your body limber.

Stretch the big muscle groups

For maximum effect, cover your major muscle groups first – butt, legs, arms, chest, and back. It’s also smart to give extra attention to areas you use a lot, which will be more prone to tightness, injuries, or cramping.

Stretch before and after exercise

If you don’t see yourself committing to bed stretches or stretches while waiting for the water to boil or while you’re watching your favourite show – try to stick to stretching your main muscle groups before and after your exercise (after warming up).

Make it easy and the habit will stick

Most new habits die off because we bite off more than we can chew. Don’t try for a 20 min stretch session every evening – things will get in the way and you will most likely stop. Instead, break your habits into smaller portions and scatter them through your day.

Start small, perhaps by doing some leg and back bed-stretches before getting out of bed in the morning, some arm stretches while waiting for the water to boil, or some gentle neck stretches while watching TV. Making stretches an unconscious and easy part of your day-to-day is the best way to improve your body’s flexibility over time.

What happens if I never stretch?

If you never stretch you leave yourself more vulnerable to muscle soreness, stiffness, pulled muscles, and long term effects on the body from lifestyle.

But the good news is that the science is inconclusive whether stretching is dramatically beneficial for us. If you feel stiff and sore or are prone to pulled muscles, or notice that you spend a lot of the day hunched (over a desk, wheel, or bike) stretching can be what you need.
If stretching makes you feel good or you want to improve your overall flexibility – stretching is the way to go.

However, if you never stretch and just don’t seem to need it, you may be right. We still recommend discussing this with your myotherapist to be safe.

See a Myotherapist

Few things feel better than stretching a muscle that really needs it. If you’d like to stretch more but you’re unsure where to start, talk with your myotherapist to get a stretching plan tailored to your schedule and body’s needs. They’ll help locate areas in need of extra attention, reduce tension, and help you mitigate the potential long term effects of your lifestyle before it’s too late.

For all myotherapy concern, contact Northern Myotherapy at 03 9078 9953 and our friendly myotherapist will gladly assist you.

Step into the new year with goal setting

Step Into The New Year With Goal Setting

A new year is ahead, so to start the year strong it is great to start with some goal setting. By setting intentions at the start of the year, you will be destined to be better than if you had not! Goal setting can be something you do on your own or can be a great exercise to do with family and friends.

Here are our top three tips for setting goals this year.

1 – Determine the goals you would like to set

There are many areas of your life that you may like to focus on – relationships, work, health and many more. It can be good to set goals in all areas of your life so that you can go into the new year with balanced purpose and motivation. To help you decide, think about the year just passed and reflect on what you did well, and what needs improvement. If you can see some room for improvement, you may consider setting a goal in that area.

If you are stuck, you can always consult an expert or friend. For example, if you want some help deciding your health goal, Northern Myotherapy has had extensive experience in assisting our clients to reach their sporting and well-being targets. With preventative and rehabilitative myotherapy and remedial massage therapy, you can reach your personal bests with a reduction in injury and strain!

2 – Set SMART Goals

Experts say that you are more likely to complete goals if you use the SMART Goal method. Here is what ‘SMART’ means.

  • S for Specific – if you are clear about what you are trying to achieve, it will be easier to achieve it! Be very clear on your goal and don’t make it general, for example, “I would like to run the 100 metres faster” is better than “I would like to run faster”.
  • M for Measurable – how will you know if you’ve achieved your goal if you didn’t know it was achieved? Creating a goal that is measurable will help you realise where you currently are and where you need to be. For example, it’s even better to say “I would like to run 100 metres in 30 seconds”.
  • A for Attainable – creating a goal that seems like a stretch can be great for you to try harder, but if the goal is too out of reach or unrealistic, you may feel too overwhelmed! Think about your current skill level and choose something that seems attainable. For example: “I would like to run 100 metres in 30 seconds” is more attainable than 10 seconds – unless you are Usain Bolt!
  • R for Relevant – make sure the goal matters to you. There is no point in creating a goal to do something you do not care about. Conversely, if you set a goal for something you do care about achieving, you will automatically have the motivation to do well!
  • T for Timely – the last step is to ensure your goals are time-specific. Tell yourself when you would like to achieve this goal. For example, to complete our earlier example, you can say “I would like to run 100 metres in 30 seconds by July 30, 2021”.

3 – Come up with an action plan

Once you have set your goals, now it is time to put them into action. A great way to achieve your goal is to set the habits needed to help. If it is getting up every morning half an hour earlier, or taking some time on your lunch break, you need to find time to work on your goal.

Secondly, find ways to keep yourself accountable. Share your goals with a friend or even one of us here at Northern Myotherapy to keep as an accountability partner. Not to mention, they can also be great support and motivation in the times you feel like giving up! 

Lastly, reward yourself for great progress. Completing goals may seem difficult at the time, but if you set something to look forward to, you may give yourself the additional motivation needed to get your goal across the line.

If you have any questions, call us on 03 9078 9953. We would love to hear about your health and sporting goals.