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Ten Minutes of Stretching Can Make All the Difference

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Chiropractic Care Is Part of Your Exercise Program

We all want to be healthy and well. Achieving this goal requires some time and effort, but the payoff is well worth it. Regular exercise helps lower blood pressure, helps slow your heart rate, and helps you sleep better at night. Regular exercise often helps people lose weight and puts a spring in their step. Regular exercise puts color in your cheeks and gives your skin that certain glow. Exercise is a very good thing.

Chiropractic care helps us get the most out of our exercise by making hidden reserves available for peak performance. Regular chiropractic care removes nerve interference and keeps the joints of our spine moving freely, eliminating roadblocks to full mobility and full function. By helping optimize our nerve systems and musculoskeletal systems, regular chiropractic care helps get our bodies in shape so that we can do the exercises needed to keep our bodies in shape.

Should I stretch before or after I exercise?1 Should I even bother to stretch at all? These are the questions that every busy adult asks whenever he or she is planning to begin an exercise program. The correct answer to the first question is "do whatever is right for you." Some people need to lengthen their major muscle groups, such as the quadriceps (front of the thigh), hamstrings (back of the thigh), and calves, before they run, walk, swim, and/or lift weights for exercise. For others, it's best to stretch at the end of a workout, re-lengthening the major muscle groups so they'll be ready to help you move through the rest of your day.

The answer to the second question is "yes, stretching is important for everybody and is often the missing link in trying to understand why you injured yourself when you were exercising." Stretching helps you either warm up or cool down, whichever is needed for you to get the most out of your exercise. Not stretching in the way that you need puts you on the fast track to sustaining an exercise-related injury. As always, prevention is the best policy.

A dynamic warm-up is a fun and entertaining supplement or replacement, at times, to stretching if you're a stretch-first person.2,3 In a dynamic warm-up, you take important joints such as your hips, shoulders, and lower back through complete ranges of motion, using large muscle groups for support. Dynamic warm-up activities are similar to core strengthening exercises and have unique names such as scorpion, hip crossover, drop lunge, and quad circles. You can mix-and-match a variety of dynamic warm-up activities on different workout days, creating ongoing interest that helps you maintain your exercise routine.

A dynamic cool-down can serve as a similar supplement or replacement to stretching, at times, if you're a stretch-after person. If you've been walking or running, rather than simply completing your walk or run, spend an additional few minutes walking or running with shorter strides and/or at a slower pace. Walking backward at a slow pace is another method for achieving a dynamic cool-down. If you've been lifting weights, a series of deep-knee lunges will stretch your lower back and hips. A yoga-style downward dog will lengthen your spine, hamstrings, and calf muscles. Moving your arms through big circles, both clockwise and counterclockwise, will open up your shoulder girdles and lengthen the muscles of your rotator cuffs.

Regardless of the method you choose, stretching is an important part of your regular exercise activities. The extra few minutes spent either warming up or cooling down will help you maintain your exercise program achieve long-term health and well-being.

1McHugh MP, Cosgrave CH: To stretch or not to stretch: the role of stretching in injury prevention and performance. Scand J Med Sci Sports 20(2):169-181, 2010

2Morrin N, Redding E: Acute effects of warm-up stretch protocols on balance, vertical jump height, and range of motion in dancers. J Dance Med Sci 17(1):34-40, 2013
3Behm DG, Chaouachi A: A review of the acute effects of static and dynamic stretching on performance. Eur J Appl Physiol 111(11):2633-2651, 2011

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Testimonial

"Dr. Brittany Gregory is awesome. She has helped me beyond words. I am even taking my children to her to help with a chronic cough in my 1 year old which is getting better. It is ear issues with my four year old. She is patient and explains everything she is doing. Well worth the visit. I went in with severe back pain and am much better. Thank you so much for everything you are doing for my family!!"- Jessica H.

"It is always pleasant to visit Maple Lake Chiropractic. The atmosphere is so friendly and easy going. The Doctors are both very personable, I have never seen them without a smile. It is always a pleasure to go there." -Diana

 "I called to schedule an appointment with Dr. Hines and he got me in that afternoon. I had pain and numbness shooting into my feet and I could barely walk. After spending the time to find what was actually causing my issue, I received three adjustments that week. 3 months later I'm pain and problem free but still going every week so my issue doesn't come back. Highly recommend this office" -Matt

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