Tips For Stretching
Why Is Stretching Important ?
is extremely important to keep fit. Even if you are a person who goes
to the gym regularly and exercises regularly you still need to do
stretching exercises so that you can keep fit. Stretching exercises
promote the benefits of the exercise. Stretching is not a workout, but a
part of the work out.
People should understand the difference
between stretching and exercise. It is a very important part of the
work out because it increases the flexibility of your body. When the
muscles and joints of the body are flexible, you are less prone to
injury. That is why most gym instructors recommend
stretching before workouts.
When you stretch your body, the muscles
tend to loosen up, and they are then ready for all the movements your
body undergoes. The joints move more easily as though they are
lubricated. Stretching also increases the blood supply to the ligaments
and joints and that is why they are more lubricated. Stretching
exercises are also used for cooling down the body after an exercise
session. The joints tend to be less stiff due to this.
Usually exercises tend to make the body stiff and stretching
helps to reduce the stiffness. It increases the energy in the body and
also promotes weight loss. The body tends to use more energy than it
would usually and also you burn more fat as a result. Stretching is
suggested for people who are recovering from muscle aches and joint
pains also. The stretching exercises are basic but they do speed up the
Stretching can take as little as 10 minutes, but provides
multiple benefits to the body:
- Decreases pain and soreness after exercise
- Improves circulation
- Improves range of motion
- Improves posture
- Decreases muscle tension
- Reduces muscle soreness
- Improves your ability to relax
- Allows time for mental training, such as visualization
Stretching comes in the form of a “warm up” and a “cool down.”
- Helps to raise body temperature
- Increases blood flow
- Promotes oxygen supply to the muscles
- Helps prepare the mind, muscles and joints for the physical exercise to come
- Prevents blood from pooling in your limbs
- Helps prevent waste products, such as lactic acid, from building up in your
- Helps your muscles and tendons relax and loosen, stopping them from becoming
stiff and tight.
Proper Stretching Techniques:
- Perform balanced stretching. This means you should always stretch the muscles on
both sides of your body evenly. Don’t stretch one side more than the other.
- Avoid over-stretching. Never stretch to the point of pain or discomfort. You
will feel slight tension or a pull on the muscle at the peak of a stretch.
- Go slow! Always stretch slowly and evenly. Hold the stretch about 15 seconds and
release slowly as well.
- Never bounce or jerk while stretching. This can cause injury as a muscle is
pushed beyond its ability. All stretches should be smooth and slow.
- Don’t forget to breathe! Flexibility exercises should be relaxing. Deep, easy
- Begin with gradual mobility exercises of all
the joints, i.e. simply rotate the wrists, bend the arm and roll your
shoulders. This will allow the body's natural lubrication (synovial fluid)
to protect the surface of your bones at these joints.
- Always warm up the body prior to stretching, as this increases blood
flow around the body, which in turn makes the muscles more supple.
- After exercise, slowly bring your heart rate down before you begin
stretching in order to avoid blood pooling within your muscles, which can
lead to cramp and dizzy spells.
- If you're wet and sweaty, take a bath or shower then stretch, as the hot
water will help relax the muscles, and prevent you from catching a chill.
- Never bounce whilst you stretch, unless you are doing specific stretches
for certain sports, i.e. ballistic stretching for martial arts.
- Hold the stretch until you feel the muscle loosen off, then repeat for a
further 15 seconds.
- Whilst stretching you should feel some slight discomfort, if you don't
feel anything, then you may be doing the stretch incorrectly, or simply
the muscle has eased off.
- Stop immediately if you feel any severe pain.
- Remember to breathe regularly and rhythmically, do not hold your breath.
- If you have a bad memory, start with your legs, and work up the body, in
order not to miss out any of the stretches.
- Yoga or Pilates is also recommended.
For a great list of stretches to do (with pictures) click on the following link