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Live Life | Pain Free

pyramid of performance REDUCE PAIN - RESTORE FUNCTION






The Pyramid Of Performance provides a safe and progressive conditioning program, focusing on optimal muscle firing sequences, stability and optimal joint performance. Each physical task we perform is a reflection of our preparation. To overcome pain and minimise the risk of further injury, the foundations need to be built in succession.




Tight muscles compress the spine and joints causing arthritis and chronic joint pain. Flexible muscles are critical for pain free living. One of the keys to flexibility is through correct stretching. We have asked the Stretching Guru, Brad Walker from The Stretching Institute™ to provide expert comment in this area.



7 key stretching secrets revealed.


1. The importance of stretching.

Stretching is a simple and effective activity that helps to enhance athletic performance, decrease the likelihood of sports injury and minimize muscle soreness.

By placing particular parts of the body in certain positions, we are able to increase the length of the muscles and associated soft tissues. As a result of this, a reduction in general muscle tension is achieved and range of movement is increased.

Plus, a regular stretching program will also help to improve posture; develop body awareness; improve co-ordination; promote circulation; increase energy; and improve relaxation and stress relief.


2. Why generic stretching can be hazardous to your health.

Just as there are no good or bad exercises, there are no good or bad stretches; only what is appropriate for the specific requirements of the individual. So a stretch that is perfectly okay for one person may not be okay for someone else. This is why a generic, one-size-fits-all approach to stretching can be hazardous to your health.


More information on Good Stretch/Bad Stretch.


3. Why you need a customised stretching program, particularly if you have an injury. Remember, all we see is injured patients or patients in pain.

Not only is it important to do the right stretch for your specific requirement, it’s just as important to choose the right type of stretching. Choosing the right type of stretching during your rehabilitation program will have a tremendous effect on the speed of your recovery, while choosing the wrong type could lead to further injury and a very slow recovery.


More information on stretching for injury rehabilitation.


4. How stretching can take the pressure off of joints which can in-turn reduce joint degeneration.

Increased flexibility through stretching can help prevent the effects of fatigue and joint pain by taking pressure off the working muscles, (the agonist). For every muscle in the body there is an opposite or opposing muscle, (the antagonist). If the opposing muscles are more flexible, the working muscles do not have to exert as much force against the opposing muscles. Therefore each movement of the working muscles actually takes less effort.

This also creates a balance between the muscles in the front of your body and the muscles in the back of your body (and from side to side also). This balance, or equilibrium, means that no one muscle (or group of muscles) needs to work extra hard to keep the body in alignment.


5. How long it might take to see results.

The speed at which someone will see results will depend on a large number of factors; all very specific to the individual.

When starting a stretching program it is a good idea to start with a general range of stretches for the entire body, instead of just a select few. The idea of this is to reduce overall muscle tension and to increase the mobility of the joints and limbs.


The next step should be to increase overall flexibility by starting to extend the muscles beyond their normal range of movement. Following this; work on specific areas that are tight or important for your particular sport. Remember, all this takes time. This sequence of stretches may take up to three months to see real improvement, especially if we have no background in agility based activities or are heavily muscled.


6. How you see it fitting into our Pyramid Of Performance.

Getting the foundation to health and fitness right is paramount for consistent, long term results. Too many people want to jump straight into the “hard core” training without first building a base to support that activity. It’s like building a house on sand: it’s only a matter of time before it falls down.


7. Specific reference to chronic pain and conditions like fibromyalgia.

As with any exercise plan, an exercise plan for people diagnosed with fibromyalgia or CFS needs to cater for the individual's level of fitness, mobility and experience. Extra precautions need to be taken to allow for the persons disability and so only certain types of exercise should be included.


Non-impact and low impact aerobic exercise has been found to be very beneficial for sufferers of fibromyalgia and CFS. The cardiovascular training involved with aerobic exercise has been shown to significantly reduce the degree of pain and stiffness experienced by sufferers.


The Best Type of Exercise for Fibromyalgia and CFS include: Light Aerobics; Aqua Aerobics; and gentle stretching exercises.


More information on stretching for fibromyalgia.



Lifestyle Therapies stocks and recommends the Stretching Handbook and DVD as an excellent tool for patients. If you are unable to visit our clinic wellness bookshop, you can purchase the book or DVD here.





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