The Almighty Stretch
Stretching is easy to forget.
That’s because the results are not as visible as a HIIT workout, a long run or weight-lifting.
But the truth is, stretching is equally important as your workout.
Stretching can benefit the body in many ways. it can:
- Help improve joint range of motion
- Decrease the risk of injury
- Improve athletic performance
When and Which
Stretching has numerous positive effects on your body.
Static stretching allows you to increase your joint mobility and relax the muscles, thus acting on your health/performance and on your body’s ability to recover.
Static stretching is associated with postural exercises that use different muscle chains. It also allows you to recover in a more fluid muscle action/reaction — and reduce all the muscular retractions we create in everyday life (sitting in the car, in the office, incorrect positions taken in different situations).
Static stretching is usually recommended as a separate session or post-workout.
For those who feel the need to stretch before a workout or competitive event, the advice is to perform reasonably short exercises (10-15 seconds at most for no more than two sets per muscle group) and not very intense, especially before explosive or quality activities. (for example, short repetitions) always mixed with a slow activation phase.
Dynamic stretching can be beneficial to activate the pre-race muscles correctly, provided it is managed with a lot of progressions and avoiding stretches with maximal intensity.
Dynamic stretching also requires proper technique. So, if possible, attempt to monitor your movements.
Also, dynamic stretching should be performed on a warm but not tired muscle to prevent the risk of muscle-tendon injuries.
All stretching should be adapted to your own level of physical and sports condition.
To get the most of your stretching here are some helpful tips.
- Stretch Safely: If you’re holding a stretch too long and it begins to hurt ease up. Stretch until you feel resistance but not pain. Modify movements to feel comfortable to you. Stretching should feel good.
- Stretch Regularly: Make stretching part of your fitness routine. Stretch at least three times a week to maintain flexibility. Try stretching for about ten minutes and hold each stretch for about 20-30 seconds.
- Practice Proper Posture: A good stretch requires good posture. Engage your back and neck to help muscles work efficiently. Stretching can also help with poor posture by loosening up tight muscles.
- Do Not Replace a Warm Up with Stretching: Before you start stretching make sure your body is ready to work. Warming up increases your heart rate, blood flow and gets your muscles to a warm temperature. Stretching cold muscles can lead to an abnormal heart rate and blood flow.
- Do Not Bounce While Stretching: Stretch in a smooth and stable movement, without bouncing. Moving around too much while stretching can lead to injury and sore muscles.
Stretching will improve your flexibility and mobility.
While it’s often overlooked, stretching can be a great tool for athletes or anyone who wants to improve posture and become more flexible.
Find a stretching routine that works for you to help you get the most out of your body.
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