As we age, stretching becomes even more important. I integrate it into my routines, whether before or after a training session or after a race.
Stretching plays a vital role in my training, both before and after a workout. I feel like stretching regenerates my whole body.
Stretching involves a series of muscle-lengthening techniques designed to improve joint mobility, which is defined as the capacity to stretch your joints to their maximum without pain. Stretching exercises allow you to improve muscle length and elasticity.
For amputees, this is even more vital since it helps re-establish a new sense of equilibrium to compensate for the loss of limb. Stretching keeps the various zones of the body toned and flexible, helps prevent pain and reduces the chance of accidents during training sessions.
When carrying out stretching exercises, it is important both to work each part muscle group individually (arms, thighs, etc.), as well as the the body as a whole, working all the kinetic chains (particularly important to stretch the posterior kinetic chain).
In any case, all exercises need to be approached gradually. Whether you are working on muscle strengthening exercises, stretching, or those aimed at improving proprioception, it is essential not to proceed too brusquely, but to gently and progressively increase the intensity of the exercise, both to keep from tiring too quickly and, more importantly, to avoid the chance of accidents.
Let’s take a look at some of the exercises Mira has integrated into his routine in training to compete in triathlons (swimming, cycling, and running).
STRETCHING - TRICEPS
SIDE LUNGE STRETCH
STANDING HAMSTRING STRETCH
Proprioception is the awareness of the position of your own body in space, including being aware of whether muscles are contracted or relaxed, without actually seeing it.
Exercises for proprioception increase balance, stability, and coordination, and therefore take on particular significance for an amputee.
These exercises range from very easy (balancing standing on one leg, making a “bridge” with one arm and one leg, etc.), to more difficult ones involving unstable surfaces (wobble and rocker balance boards, Bosu balls, wobble cushions, etc.).