A few years ago, I injured my knee while trying to snowboard in extremely icy, packed snow conditions. After nursing black-blue knees for a month, I thought I was fine. However, last year after a couple of 10Ks and just 2 days of snow-boarding, my knee pain came back and it was brutal . Usually, I am very aware of my body and watch for signs it’s throwing at me. But this one kinda baffled me, after much deliberation I finally decided to get an MRI to make sure everything was in place. $450 later everything still in place turns out just the knee cap on my left knee was a little loose. After being prescribed 2 months of Physical Therapy (PT) by the doc I walked out of there happily, now knowing for certain that there was no reason to be concerned.
The first session was a detailed discussion with a senior therapist. She examined my knees, made me do certain movements and then assigned a therapist to work with me. I went in twice a week for two month. I was dedicated, never missed a session. I loved the staff there, right from the front desk, to the therapist and the assistants. They gave me great advice, tips and suggestions on what I needed to do in order to make the muscles supporting my knees stronger. This is where I understood the importance of stretching and strenghtening. You should follow your doctor’s or trainers advice, especially if dealing with any health issues. This is what I learned from my pain, my therapy, my healing process ultimately leading to a healthier and happier me. My goal here is to share my experience and current stretching routine with you, feel free to use any or all of it at your discretion.
Sports player or not, worker-outer or not, IMO you should stretch regularly (if not daily) to —
- Prevent injuries
- Speed up recovery process post workout or sport activity
- Keep the muscles and tissues in good working conditions
- Ease the pressure on various joints/Reduce physical stress
- Improve flexibility
- Improve blood circulation
There are many different methods of stretching and there is no one right way. Everyone is built differently and has a different lifestyle and most likely different goals, you must figure out what’s the best option for you. Here is what I do:
- Stretch EVERYDAY!
- Foam roller is my new best friend! Before you start letting your imagination run wild, for those of you who don’t know what it is, this is what it looks like (img source: google image search) —
How do you decide what type of foam roller you should go for? Well, for me, I had plenty opportunities to try out different foam rollers at my PT’s practice and picked one that suits my needs the most. You can either consult your doctor, or trainer or look up wikihow.
3. Foam roller is not the only way to stretch, I alternate between my new BFF and Yoga, which i usually refer to as my soulmate.. because for me Yoga is more than just exercising one’s body, it’s about getting in touch with your inner self… more on that in another post. I find certain postures such as
a. downward facing dog
b. Upward facing dog
There are many more postures you could practice based on your needs and physical fitness levels. My mum is a Yoga instructor and I learned Yoga under her supervision. It is very important that you know the right technique to avoid injury. It might be worth checking out a Yoga class.
Here’s a little humor to brighten up your day. What if Gandhi took a yoga class!?? You don’t know who Gandhi was? Perhaps you may want to read this -> Mahatma Gandhi, while you’re there, you may want to look up MLK too.
4. Getting regular massages — again this totally depends on your health conditions. I try to get a massage once every two months, usually deep tissue or a Thai massage.
Between my new BFF and soul mate, I make sure I get my daily stretching in. There are definitely times when I believe I am too busy to stretch, those days I do get my leg stretches in while waiting for the train or when I want to take a break from sitting at the computer. I also get my upper body/arm stretches in similarly. Don’t worry about what others may think, it doesn’t matter! You need to get your stretching in! That’s what matters!!!
I shall leave you with a video of a cute dog doing Yoga!