The road to improved performance and health is best illustrated by how you take care of your body. Not only with how you approach nutrition and your training regimen, but also in how you rest and recover. This should be an integral part to your strategy.
Rest and recovery allow the body (joints to tissue) proper time to recoup from the workout so that your body is able to perform optimally the next time it is challenged whether in the gym, competition or life. Research shows that most individuals spend very little time or attention on helping the body effectively recover. Your body needs your assistance in returning the vitals (heart rate, blood pressure, etc) to normal levels, and your tissue (muscles/fascia) to a pre-workout state. Just because you think it does not mean the body gets any benefit.
Effective recovery starts with the cool down process after your workout and should include components that will not only stretch muscles/fascia, but will also help you down regulate the nervous system. Down regulation helps your muscles relax, brings your vitals back to normal and improves your overall stress level.
When muscles and fascia are properly stretched not only does it feel great, but also there is improved hydration and circulation at the cellular level. This is where the recovery really starts and where you can optimize the process. This is why professional athletes spend an enormous amount of attention in how they approach recovery. Stretching and caring for the fascia and joints is an integral part to their performance.
One type of manual therapy that most pros now use is Fascial Stretch TherapyTM, which helps their fascia remain healthy, and speeds up their recovery.
Benefits to FSTTM Stretching:
Improve Range of Motion and Mobility
Improved Performance – (healthy fascia handles force transmission; better mobility)
Increase Rate of Recovery (better hydration/circulation at cellular level, improves rate of recovery)
Decrease Risk of Injury
Improve Joint Health (decompresses joints)
Improve Circulation (blood flow improved throughout tissue/body)
Improved Hydration (better circulation delivers fluids)
Decrease Stress (physical and emotional state)
Improve Sleep (more relaxed state; sleep more deeply)
So if the pro athletes find stretching and tissue care important so should we. Instead of waiting until your feel bad or injured, get in front of it and stretch, relax and recover. It might be the missing piece to the puzzle on reaching your fitness or health goals.