Stretch for better health

As an osteopath I’m always interested in trying to give my patients some little nugget of advice that will help them to be more supple and to achieve better health. That could be to do with their diet, their sleeping posture, stretching exercises, new activities or their daily habits.

In this article I wanted to stress the importance of stretching !! I don’t mean specific muscle stretches, such as the hamstring stretch we see runners do. There is a place for that, but what I’m talking about is the natural stretching that children naturally seem to do when they wake up.


We see cats and dogs doing it, almost every time they get up. In fact almost all animals, including humans, seem to do it. But, as we get older, we seem to forget to do it. Indeed, some people get so stiff that the act of stretching is likely to give them cramp.


This type of natural stretching stretches our ligaments rather than our muscles. The role of the ligaments is to hold our bones together at the joints, allowing us to move smoothly and freely and without pain.

If it does cause cramp maybe don’t do it immediately upon waking, but move around a bit and take a hot shower first. Perhaps do it later in the day when you’re thoroughly warmed up. Just set aside a time do it so you don’t forget !!

Make sure you stretch as fully as possible. Stretch your legs out through the heels and also while pointing your toes. Stretch your arms above your head and also out in front of you with your hands clasped together. Place your hands behind your neck and stretch your head away from your shoulders. You can also twist a little and stretch diagonally through the opposite arm and leg.

Get back into the habit of stretching and I’m sure you’ll quickly start to notice a difference.