How you treat your body every day affects your long-term health. Eating right and exercising can prolong your lifespan and prevent health complications in the future. Nearly everyone knows this to be true. But did you know that making a habit of certain healthy behaviors can prevent injuries today? Orthopedic surgeons, the experts in caring for muscles, bones, and connective tissue that you use to put your body into motion, recommend that you stretch after engaging in any active sports.

So, what do you like to play? Are you an avid amateur player of team sports like basketball or touch football? Are you a fan of outdoor sports, like mountain biking and hiking? What about extreme sports like surfing or skateboarding? Whatever your preferred sport may be, stretching keeps you healthy and prevents injuries.

Here are the top stretches that every orthopedic doctor in Jacksonville, FL, would recommend. These stretches may prevent cramps, torn muscles, and other sports-related injuries.

Standing Forward Fold

A basic stretch for your lower back and hamstrings, which can be overworked during athletic play, start this stretch by standing up straight with your feet together. Bend at the hips and try to touch your calves, ankles, or toes. As with any stretch, don’t force yourself to go past where you feel comfortable. You can actually injure yourself. Hold this stretch for up to a minute.

Runner’s Lunge

Orthopedic surgeons frequently treat knee injuries that could have been prevented with regular leg stretches. Start in a plank or push-up position. Bend one knee and bring your leg forward, placing your foot outside the hand. Straighten your arms and look forward. You should feel the extended leg stretch. Hold for a minute, then switch legs.

Hurdler’s Stretch

A great hip and leg stretch, this is a classic move that many people are taught as children. Sit on the ground with your legs in a “V” position. Bring the foot of one leg in toward your groin, or place the foot flush against the inner the of the other leg. Reach out your hands and bend at the hips toward the extended foot. If you can’t touch your toes, rest on your shin or ankle. Hold this position for a minute, making sure to take deep breaths, then switch legs and stretch the other side.

Child’s Pose

This resting position offers a gentle full-body stretch, while also calming your muscles. It’s the perfect stretch for finishing your exercise. Kneel on the floor and put your toes together so your legs make an open “V” shape. Open your knees wide enough for your torso to fit between them. Lower your torso forward to the ground, then walk your fingers straight out in front of you as far as you can. Drop your head to the floor if possible. You should feel a light stretch in your thighs, back, and shoulders.

You can prevent the need for orthopedic therapy or an orthopedic surgeon’s treatment if you perform these stretches regularly. While stretching releases lactic acid and calms the muscles, it cannot prevent all injuries. However, you should still make stretching after sports a regular practice. For more advice or to discuss any soreness or injury you may have, visit an orthopedic doctor in Jacksonville, FL. 

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