Anyone who has pets sees it daily: both dogs and cats, after a period of rest and sleep, and as soon as they get up from the mat or sofa, stretch their trunks keeping their hindquarters raised while gently lowering the front one by sliding their front paws forward. in front of. At the same time, they stretch their necks by moving their heads to both sides.
Other times they perform the operation the other way around: dropping their asses while keeping their front legs up. Thus, in both cases, they stretch the muscles of the loin and shoulders as well as the spine and neck joints.
But this exercise has other benefits for our furry friends, as well as for us. And it is that for humans, stretching after a long period of inactivitypresents many benefits for health in general.
Not in vain it is recommended to get up from the chair every hour and a half when we work and stretch for about ten minutes to correct tensions in tendons and poor posture. Similarly, after daily sleep, stretching can have benefits for both muscular and cardiovascular health.
To get to know them, we spoke with the director of the Maza Physiotherapy and Osteopathy Center of Bilbao, Borja Maza. He has explained to us that during sleep the body relaxes and the muscles slowly shorten and cool from relaxation. This generates an increased risk of injury due to a bad gesture or a misstep in the first minutes of the day.
At the same time, due to night movements, bad postures are produced that lead to tensions in the joints, tendons and muscles, which can cause pain throughout the day.
And finally, after the night’s rest, our circulatory system is working at idle, with just enough oxygenation for sleep, so when we wake up and get up we need a discharge of the hormone cortisol to speed up the rhythm and “get going”.
Excellent physiotherapy “breakfast”
Faced with this situation, morning stretching achieves:
- Warm up the tendons and musclesbecause with stretching we increase blood circulation, which brings heat to the joints and makes them more elastic, preparing them for activity and avoiding injuries and overloads.
- The brain recalculates muscle length in activity, since during the night it translates the orders into relaxed muscles. In this way we manage to “wake it up” to avoid missteps, accidents, etc.
- Increase the level of oxygen in the blood, because the muscles work with a kind of driving pumps when stretching and contracting; therefore, it will help us to respect ourselves better and start the activity with greater energy. It will also cleanse the accumulation of muscle lactic acid, a product of low oxygen levels, and restore normal muscle potassium and sodium levels, preventing cramps and optimizing contraction.
- Relieve tendons and muscles from contractures and pain caused by poor night postures. Especially good for joints and spine, as well as the upper back, where compressions can cause headaches.
Maza has wanted to record that they are routines that we should not do from time to time because our back, shoulder, etc., hurt, but rather must be a daily routinewhich is also better if it extends for the rest of the day.
Be that as it may, it stands out to close that the stretches come to be “an excellent breakfast” physiotherapy for our body, whose advantages accompanied us all day and in the long run will prevent future injuries.
From the Mas Salud Center in Madrid they propose seven morning stretches to start the day which are summarized in stretching exercises for the neck, back, lower half, legs, upper half, shoulders and chest.
The following illustration contains the table of recommended exercises:
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