Whether you are into regular exercise or simply end up with a sore back after a long day at work, there is a new wellness and recovery trend taking shape in Australia that should definitely be on your radar.
It’s called assisted stretching, and according to experts is something that everyone can benefit from.
“Stretching is often the forgotten component to most people’s fitness routine,” Brad Walker, Chief Stretch Advisor at StretchLab in Sydney, tells 9Honey.
Assisted stretching is a deep-dive into the muscular system, which focuses on Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation.
This method involves a flexologist placing a client in a stretch, then asking them to contract certain muscles and hold the contraction for a few moments.
It’s an advanced form of stretching, recommended to explore with an expert.
“Stretching helps to compliment all the other components of fitness,” Walker explains, adding that without a good level of flexibility it can be difficult to maximise some of the other elements of fitness and exercise.
“For a long time people have been focused on doing more during their workouts, but over the last few years more people are starting to realise that if they want to continue their active lifestyle and their intense workouts they need to focus on their recovery and longevity.
“Stretching plays a key role in recovery and keeping people fit and limber to continue the active lifestyle they want. “
And it’s not only for those who exercise, it could be beneficial for pretty much everyone, especially those who suffer with chronic pain.
“Stretching is very important for all people whether they are athletes or not,” Walker says.
“Anyone can develop tight sore muscles from everyday activities, and stretching helps to relieve aches, pains and stiff tight joints.”
Some of the benefits of assisted stretching include:
- Improve sports performance
- Increase range of motion and flexibility
- Reduce muscle and joint pain
- Improve posture – proper alignment and balance through stretching helps improve overall posture and allows you to stand taller
- Reduce stress – stretching benefits both your physical well-being and your mental health, as it allows the blood and oxygen to flow better and improve mental clarity
Brad Walker shares his 5 favourite stretches and why
“To maximise these stretches they are best performed with a partner or qualified expert,” he notes.
Chest Stretch: Helps to open up the chest and reduce kyphosis, which is very common today from spending too much time crouched over a computer or cell phone. Also helps to improve posture and breathing.
Upper traps and neck Stretch: Helps to open up the shoulders and relieve tension in the neck.
Lumbar rotation Stretch: Helps to open up the hips, core and lower back area and is really good for rotational flexibility through the lower back and core.
Forward-flexion Stretch: This stretch is great for relieving tension throughout the back of the body. It helps to loosen up all the muscle groups from the back of the neck down to the hamstrings and calves.
Hip flexor Stretch: This stretch is important for anyone who spends a lot of time sitting. It will help to open up the quads and hip flexors and relieve hip and buttocks pain.
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