The benefits of stretching are vast and well documented. According to the Mayo Clinic, stretching increases flexibility, improves range of motion for joints, improves circulation and relieves stress. In addition to all these benefits, stretching may also help prevent injuries. For individuals who suffer from a medical condition, stretching may offer additional benefits. Prior to starting any stretching or exercise routine, always consult with your doctor or healthcare professional. Read below about stretching exercises and their benefits if you are affected by any of these particular medical conditions.
For individuals suffering from lupus, stretching is important to help minimize loss of function during a flare up. Additionally, it also can help reduce the stress on inflamed joints, pain and fatigue. For lupus, isometric and isotonic stretches are recommended. Isometric stretching exercises involve muscle contraction without motion, such as clenching a fist and holding it. Isometric stretches can be completed during a flare up. These exercises are gentle and aim to prevent any muscle loss during a flare up. Isotonic stretches help build up muscle strength. Isotonic stretches occur when a muscle contraction includes motion, such as raising and lower your lower leg while standing. To increase the efficiency of these exercises, a person may consider aiding resistance bands or light weights do build strength. Isotonic stretches are typical completed during times when the lupus is in remission.
For individuals with a heart condition, stretching helps move oxygen-filled blood into muscles and joints. It can help relieve tension and improve circulation. Good stretching exercises to begin with include low impact motions. These stretches include a torso stretch, torso twist and neck stretch. All these stretches help slowly lengthen the muscles and improve blood flow to the heart.
For individuals affected by diabetes, in particular Type 2 diabetes, stretching can help normalize blood glucose levels. Stretching, in addition to a regular exercise program, may help your body respond to insulin and help your body manage its blood glucose. Stretching also helps improve circulation to the arms, legs, fingers and other major joints, an important benefit for someone affected by diabetes. Good stretching exercises for diabetics are static stretching motions. These include the hamstring stretch, side stretches, upper back stretches and lower back stretches.
According to the National Arthritis Foundation, stretching can help reduce joint pain and stiffness and increase flexibility, muscle strength and endurance. Additionally, stretching may help reduce the inflammation caused by arthritis. Individuals with arthritis should begin with basic stretching exercises that improve range of motion. Excellent stretching exercises include chest and arm stretches, the seated butterfly stretch and the knee-to-chest stretch.
If you are unsure how to safely complete any of these stretches, speak with a healthcare professional or physical therapist who can properly show you how to stretch. A daily stretching routine should help lead to an improvement in your quality of life, increased energy, increased muscle stretch and a reduced chance of injury.