Stretch Your Body every day. Do Yoga, Pilates, traditional sports stretches or other. Whether you spend 4 minutes or an hour or more a day stretching, when done properly, your body will respond positively to the attention. Too much focus on tightening and strengthening without lengthening the body’s musculature and connective tissue can have a negative effect. Likewise, it is easy to overstretch areas that are already flexible leaving the problem areas unattended. I did exactly that in my early twenties, which caused a very painful knee condition called chondromalacia. I recovered from it with a lot of help from physiotherapy and massage. I learned a lot in the process. Doesn’t it always seem that we learn best from painful personal experience. I spent a lot of time doing rehabilitative stretching and strengthening and walking around with ice packs strapped to my knees. As a result stretching has played a significant role in my body maintenance routine ever since.
I highly recommend seeing a professional for advice specific to your individual needs.
I believe that therapeutic massage, myofascial manipulation and active-release therapy among other techniques are necessary to support our over-worked, over-stressed and over-exercised bodies. I think that most people view massage as a luxury, something to do while on holiday or at a spa rather than as a form of body maintenance. To get the most from any type of physical therapy, one must collaborate with the therapist as a working relationship. Tell your therapist that you are keen to make improvements, so ask questions. Work with them to figure out what type of repetitive movements (or lack of) might be contributing to your muscle soreness or joint pain for example. Do not leave their office without at least one stretch that you will practice daily. Careful not to overwhelm yourself with more than three stretches at a time, because you probably will not do them. The next visit the therapist can reassess and give you another stretch to work on.
I know not everyone can afford massage therapy, I guess that is why it still falls in the luxury category. But, you can access affordable massage by looking up the teaching colleges. The students need real bodies to practice on and the price can be very affordable so that you might be able to make it a monthly appointment. My Registered Massage Therapist did her training at WCCMT and can vouch for its credibility. New Westminster College of Massage has a student clinic that you can check out as an example.
I haven’t been to Utopia Academy in Vancouver, but it is another example of what a student clinic is like. A woman I used to play casual soccer with is currently doing her training there.