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Medstar Health Monday - Week 11

Mindful Stretching

Stretching is a necessity for any athlete. Besides improving flexibility, stretching can prevent muscle soreness, reduce
the risk of injury, and improve sport performance in general. Most athletes take the time to stretch, either before or after
their main workout, but some may still suffer from sore or stiff muscles. This may be due to an athlete viewing stretching
as something to get through before the main activity, when in fact stretching is an essential part of any workout. Just as
focus and intention are important during any athletic event, they are equally important during a stretching session.
Applying mindful practices during stretching can help any athlete have more successful outcomes towards his or her
flexibility goals. Here are a few tips for mindful stretching:

1) Be present! Instead of going through the motions of stretching on autopilot, take the time to focus on your purpose
and be aware of your body. Remember why you are stretching, check for proper form, and concentrate on how your
muscles are feeling during the stretch. Use the time to mentally prepare for or reflect on your performance.

2) Breathe. Take slow deep breaths while stretching to increase your concentration and to bring oxygen rich blood to
stiff muscles. Use a counting method to control breathing, such as inhaling for a count of 3 and exhaling for a count of 3.

3) Visualize. There are many ways to increase focus through visualization, so choose what works best for you. One way
combines breathing and visualization; during inhalation feel the areas of most tension in your muscles, and during
exhalation visualize the muscle fibers relaxing as your breath “carries” the tension away. Another way is to use color;
“see” the areas of tension or discomfort as red and visualize them cooling to blue as you hold the stretch.

4) Technique. Take a moment to check your body position. Do you feel a stretch in the muscle you are intending to
stretch? Hold your position for at least 15 seconds to “educate” your muscle on its new intended length. Do not back off
the stretch by bouncing or loosening your stance. Continue to pull yourself further into the stretch instead. Repeat each
stretch at least twice to maximize effectiveness.

Mindful stretching can help any athlete get more out of his or her flexibility routine. Try experimenting with these tips to
find what works best for you. Note how far you can reach at the beginning of your stretch and see the difference at the
end of your session after applying mindful practices.

Here's a video link of Jermaine Jones, former US men's national team member, using yoga as part of his training.
https://www.stack.com/a/jermaine-jones-yoga-soccer-recovery


Baltimore Union Sports Medicine Team

Union Sports Medicine Liaison: Bryan Caplan, DPT, MTC ([email protected])
Athletic Trainer:Amber Radtke, MS, LAT, ATC, NASM-CES ([email protected])
Strength and Conditioning Coach: Jay Dyer, CSCS ([email protected])
Vice President of MedStar Sport Medicine: Sean Huffman
Director of MedStar Sports Medicine Research: Andy Lincoln

Baltimore City (Harbor Hospital)
Physician: Jeffrey Mayer, Leigh Ann Curl
Sports PT: Chadd Baldwin
Concussion PT: Emily Coates

Baltimore County (Franklin Square)
Urgent Care: MedStar Franklin Square ED
Physician: Frank Dawson, David Cohen, Christopher Looze
Sports PT: Ryan Zimmerman
Concussion PT: Michael Ariete, Jana Bille

Baltimore County (Dundalk)
Physician: Kelly Ryan
Sports & Concussion PT: Laura Long

Baltimore County (Timonium)
Urgent Care: MedStar Prompt Care Towson
Physician: Andrew Tucker, Richard Levine, Melita Moore
Sports PT: Chad Keller
Concussion PT: Patrick Miller

Harford County (Bel Air)
Urgent Care: MedStar Prompt Care
Physician: Sean Curtain
Sports PT: Chelsea Mitchell
Concussion PT: Adrienne Nelson
Concussion PT: Tori Palmer

Baltimore County (Perry Hall)
Urgent Care: MedStar Prompt Care
Sports PT: Stephanie Stover
Concussion PT: Mark Musselman

MedStar Sports Medicine is the official medical team for the Baltimore Ravens, Baltimore Orioles, Washington Capitals, Washington Wizards, Baltimore Blast, Washington Spirit, and more than 50 additional professional, collegiate, high school, and club teams.

 


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