Hamlet's Fitness

"To stretch or not to stretch." That wasn't exactly Hamlet's question. The Prince of Denmark had matters of state to consider, especially the most effective method to avenge the murder of his father. Getting ready for his next fencing lesson had taken low priority.

But for the rest of us who aren't Nordic princes, matters of fitness are in fact akin to matters of state, namely the state of our bodies. Your fitness choices are critically important to your health and well-being. Also, your overall approach to fitness activities matters a great deal, such as how you get ready to do the exercise things you're going to do.

The question of stretching has been debated for many years, going back to the early days of popularized forms of strength training in the 1960s.1,2,3 "To stretch or not to stretch" really was and continues to be the question. Proponents of stretching actively and vigorously defend their position. Those who believe that stretching has no value, or may even be harmful, are equally assertive. There is evidence in the scientific literature to support both sides. A person who wishes to derive the greatest benefit from her time spent exercising is, like Hamlet, in quite a quandary.

But there's no need to vacillate and mimic Hamlet's notorious exploration of doubt and indecision. The way forward, as always, is to do what works for you. For example, if you are naturally flexible there might not be a need for stretching. People who can just flop over and put their hands on the floor from a standing position already have one benefit that stretching provides. Their hamstrings and lower back muscles are already pretty loose. A contrasting example is the person with naturally tight muscles. Many such people would actually strain a back muscle or a hamstring if they tried to bend over and touch the floor without any preparation.

In the world of fitness, what works for one person does not necessarily work for another. If you're a person who would benefit from stretching, you need to stretch. But not everybody will benefit. For some, time spent stretching is time wasted. You find out by stretching before a few exercise sessions. If your muscles feel "long" and limber and your joints feel freely moveable, then stretching is probably a good thing to do. If your muscles and joints don't feel any different from the way they usually do, in other words, you were already pretty loose to begin with and stretching didn't add any noticeable benefit, then you're probably a person who doesn't need to stretch.

If you're stretching, the next question becomes whether to stretch before or after exercise. Again, there are proponents of each approach and some authorities suggest that stretching both before and after is the way to go. Explore the various possibilities and determine the most effective method for you. Most importantly, get regular vigorous exercise and have fun doing it.

1Gartley RM, Prosser JL: Stretching to prevent musculoskeletal injuries. An approach to workplace wellness. AAOHN 59(6):247-252, 2011

2Stojanovic MD, Ostojic SM: Stretching and injury prevention in football: current perspectives. Res Sports Med 19(2):73-91, 2011

3Samukawa M, et al: The effects of dynamic stretching on plantar flexor muscle-tendon tissue properties. Man Ther August 2, 2011 (Epub ahead of print)

Location

Find us on the map

Office Hours

Our Regular Schedule

Atlas Chiropractic of Sarasota

Monday:

9:00 AM - 1:00 PM

2:00 PM - 6:00 PM

Tuesday:

9:00 AM - 1:00 PM

Closed

Wednesday:

9:00 AM - 1:00 PM

2:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Thursday:

9:00 AM - 1:00 PM

2:00 PM -5:00 PM

Friday:

9:00 AM - 1:00 PM

Closed

Saturday:

Closed

Sunday:

Closed

Testimonials

  • "Dear Dr. Zabawa,
    I want to thank you for being my #1 healthcare provider.
    I have been under chiropractic care for 40 years and of the many chiropractors I have been treated by,
    you and your precise atlas adjustment are the best.
    It really is gentle and effective. I've had migraines, scoliosis, herniated L4-L5, and sciatica -
    and in the 11 yrs of being under your care I have had no problems or re-occurrence of any
    of my former symptoms.
    You are the best and I thank you."
    Judy B.
  • "Hi, I'll always remember the wonderful things you've done for me at Atlas Chiropractic of Sarasota.
    I thank Dr. Zabawa for getting me up and running!
    My last chiropractor said there was nothing else they could do for me, and I felt as if my life was over.
    (I couldn't even play video games without pain.)
    Now that I've been introduced to your atlas adjustments: I'm lifting weights again, working (making money),
    and yes - even playing video games. Wow!
    THANK YOU!!!!!"
    Lyle H.
  • "We've had 40 years of various types of chiropractic therapies (sometimes weekly),
    but have never felt truly aligned until now."
    Marsha & Alain M.
  • "I was diagnosed with scoliosis as a child, and through good habits & care have managed to avoid surgery.
    About 30 years ago my research into spinal maintenance led me to upper cervical chiropractic
    (specifically orthospinology) over general chiropractic.
    This is just phenomenal. When my atlas is adjusted and my spine is aligned, it is amazing how good I feel.
    It helps the nerves and muscles of the body function so well, and I believe it has been the key to slowing
    the spinal degeneration caused by my scoliosis.
    * And it's so non-invasive! *
    Now that I live in Sarasota, I am so glad to be under the care of Dr. Zabawa.
    It's no surprise that he came highly recommended. I have always been impressed with
    the professionalism and care I've received at Atlas Chiropractic of Sarasota.
    It compares to anywhere in the country."
    Kyle Ann M.
  • "Very thorough. Quick recovery after a car wreck!"
    Nathaniel B.
  • "For 3 years I had been having headaches every day.
    I even went to a neurologist for my headaches, but he said they were a condition of menopause :(
    A friend suggested going to Dr. Z because of the unique procedure he uses and the great results.
    Dr. Z took care of me and within about 3 months my daily headaches were gone.
    What a relief!
    I don't think I've had one since :)"
    Allaesia M.
  • "I lived in pain with an undiagnosed broken back for 23 years since a horse & buggy accident as a teenager.
    When I injured my back again as an adult, the x-rays showed that I had fractured a vertebra back then,
    as well as this time.
    I received some help from going to regular chiropractors in recent years, but still lived in pain.
    I am so thankful that I found Dr. Zabawa.
    After 35 years and lots of pain, within a month or so
    I was PAIN FREE!
    It is amazing how such small adjustments to the atlas vertebra in my neck have made such
    a big difference to my life.
    To this day, I come in periodically to maintain my new found health.
    Praise and glory to God."
    Mary T.