Updated: May 12
Are you tired of feeling tightness and discomfort in your legs?
Do you want to increase your flexibility and mobility? In this post, I''ll discuss how just 10 minutes a day of Active Stretching can help you increase your leg flexibility and improve your overall well-being.
Studies on the Benefits of Stretching
As a massage therapist, I can tell you that when you stretch your muscles, you're actually helping to increase the blood flow and oxygenation to those areas. This is because your muscles are made up of tiny fibers that need to move and stretch to stay healthy.
When you stretch, you're also helping to break up any adhesions or "knots" in the muscles. These adhesions can build up over time due to poor posture, repetitive motions, or injuries. By breaking them up with stretching, you're allowing your muscles to move more freely and without pain. Did You Know...
Stretching for just 5-10 minutes per day can have significant benefits, including increased flexibility, improved range of motion, and reduce your risk of injury.
I highly suggest you stretch your legs every day! 💪🏻
The Five Whys Technique.
If you're experiencing tightness in your legs, it's important to understand the root cause.
Right? By asking "why" five times, I can dig deeper and possibly uncover the root cause of your issues, which may be related to posture, muscular imbalances, or even emotional stress. Let's take the example of tightness in the deep front line myofascial meridian. 👇🏻
Here is an example of how I would use the Five Whys Technique to identify the underlying cause:
Why does my patient have tightness in their deep front line myofascial meridian? Because their hip flexors feel tight.
Why do their hip flexors feel tight? Because they spend most of their day sitting at a desk.
Why do they spend most of their day sitting at a desk? Because their job requires them to work on a computer for long hours.
Why does their job require them to work on a computer? Because they work in an office or from home and the breaks are very minimal.
Why are their breaks minimal? Because their lack of flexibility with time causes them to sacrifice their own health and well-being.
You might read this and say this is sad or even ridiculous, but actually, this is a TRUE story for most people these days!
In this example, we can see that the root cause of the tightness in the deep front line myofascial meridian is related to a sedentary lifestyle that involves spending a lot of time sitting at a desk.
By identifying this root cause, we can then take steps to address it, such as taking frequent breaks to stretch, incorporating more movement throughout the day, and adjusting your workstation setup to be more ergonomic. Make Sense? *Note: Other potential underlying causes of tightness in the deep front line myofascial meridian could come from other muscular imbalances, poor posture, or emotional stress.
The Power of Active Stretching (videos)
Active stretching, involves engaging the muscles in a stretch rather than relying on gravity or an external force. This type of stretching has been shown to produce greater gains in flexibility than passive stretching.
In addition, active stretching can help improve muscular endurance, coordination, and balance.
Plus, it's a great way to warm up before exercise or cool down afterwards.
When it comes to targeting the deep front line myofascial meridian, here are the 4 best Active Stretches that you can try:
Lunge Stretch - Begin in a lunge position, with one foot forward and one foot back. Keep your front knee directly over your ankle and your back leg straight. Engage your glutes and press your hips forward, feeling a stretch through your hip flexors and the front of your thigh. Hold for 1-2 seconds and then release. Repeat on the other side.
Downward Dog with Leg Lift - Start in a plank position, with your hands directly under your shoulders and your toes tucked under. Lift your hips up and back into downward dog, and then lift one leg up behind you, keeping your hips square. Hold for 1-2 seconds and then release. Repeat on the other side.
Pigeon Pose - Begin in a downward dog position, then bring one knee forward and place it behind your wrist, with your foot near your opposite hip. Slide your other leg back, straightening it behind you. Slowly lower your body down to the ground, resting on your forearms or hands, and feeling a stretch through your hip and thigh. Hold for 1-2 seconds and then release. Repeat on the other side.
Runner's Lunge with Twist - Begin in a lunge position, with one foot forward and one foot back. Place your opposite hand on the ground inside your front foot, and then twist your upper body towards your front knee, reaching your other arm up towards the ceiling. Hold for 1-2 seconds and then release. Repeat on the other side.
Hold each stretch for a brief period of (1-2 sec), and then release and repeat for several repetitions.
*Note: This 1-2 sec hold is about the length of your entire exhale.
(WHY 1-2 seconds?)
Here's what I say: In Japan 🇯🇵, the Japanese have a term that enables them to continuously grow, little by little, while maintaining a focus on the larger picture. This term is called Kaizen. Kaizen is a mindset where small incremental changes create a greater impact over time. YES! So this is how I'm stretching even my older patients without much risk of injury! Little by little. It's the smart approach to stretching
So, if you stretch for just 10 minutes a day, it can really help make your legs more flexible and keep you healthy.
Isn't that awesome!? I want to add that by stretching your body, you are also stretching the mind and opening yourself up to new experiences and perspectives.
Furthermore, stretching can be seen as a form of meditation, as it requires your focused attention and mindfulness. By incorporating stretching into your daily practice, your will cultivate greater mindfulness and inner peace. Start doing these stretches every day and see how much better you feel both inner and outer! God Bless!