Many people do not consider stretching when they think of exercise, or believe stretching is just something that should be done if they have a few extra minutes before or after their exercise routine. This is far from the truth. While research on the benefits of stretching are mixed, one consistent belief is that stretching may help to improve flexibility, which will in turn improve your athletic performance and decrease the risk of injury. The important factor is to understand why stretching can be beneficial and how to stretch correctly.
A major contributing factor of many injuries is a lack of flexibility, and stretching is the solution to this problem. Stretching counteracts the gradual tightening of muscles that we develop from both under and over-use of our bodies. Stretching is a great solution to long periods of inactivity, and is one of the simplest forms of physical activity.
Benefits of Stretching:
- Decrease muscle tension – the most common contributing factors in back and neck pain & headaches
- Decrease the incidence of injuries, from joint & muscle sprains/strains, tendonitis and muscle spasms or cramping
- Speed up the recovery rate from injuries
- Increase physical and mental relaxation
- Improve and increase body awareness – posture
- Slow the aging process
- Improve circulation
Before you dive into stretching, make sure you do it safely and effectively. Using proper technique is essential, as stretching incorrectly can actually do more harm than good. A few things to remember when stretching include:
- Do not consider stretching a warm-up: Before stretching, warm up doing light walking, jogging or biking at a low intensity for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Focus on major muscle groups: Large muscle groups include calves, thighs, hips, lower back, neck and shoulders. You want to stretch muscles and joints that you routinely use for work and/or play.
- Do not bounce: Bouncing while you stretch can cause small tears in the muscle, which causes scar tissue to from and results in further tightening of the muscle.
- Do not aim for pain: You should expect to feel tension while stretching, but it should not be painful. Hold each stretch for approximately 30 seconds and repeat 3-4 times.
- Keep up with your stretching: You can achieve the best benefits by stretching regularly, at least 2-3 times per week.
For more tips on stretching in the Clermont 34711 area, please contact us!