One of the most overlooked aspects of exercise is stretching after a strenuous workout. Stretching is a form of physical exercise (simple and effective activity) within which a particular muscle or connective tissue is deliberately flexed or stretched in order to enhance the muscle felt elasticity and achieve comfortable muscle tone. Just as there are no good or bad exercises, there are no good or bad stretches only what is appropriate for the specific requirements of the individual and it is the way the stretch is performed and by whom it is being performed that makes stretching either effective and safe, or ineffective and harmful. To label a stretch as “good” gives the impression stretching whenever and however they want and it will not cause any problems.
Benefits of stretching
Reduce risk of injury
Reduced post-exercise muscle soreness
Improves circulation of blood
develop body awareness
Improve relaxation and stress relief
Rules for stretching
Stretch gently and slowly
Breathe slowly and easily while stretching
Stretch all major muscles and their opposing muscle groups
Stretch only to the point of tension
Stretch before and after exercise
Warm up prior to stretching
How to Stretch Properly
1. When to Stretch
choosing the right type of stretching for the right purpose will make a big difference to the effectiveness of flexibility program. So when else should we stretch? Stretch periodically throughout the entire day. It is a great way to keep loose and to help ease the stress of everyday life.
2. Hold, Count and Repeat
for any real benefit to our flexibility we should hold each stretch for at least 20–30 seconds. For example, starter should stretch each muscle group 2–3 times. However, if we are involved at a more advanced level in this we should stretch each muscle group 3–5 times. 5–10 minutes is enough for starter, and for the professional, anything up to two hours. If we feel that we are somewhere between the starter and the professional, time should be adjusted on time spent stretching. 3. Sequence
when starting a stretching program it is a good idea to start with a general range of stretches for the entire body, instead of just a select few. The idea of this is to reduce overall muscle tension and to increase the mobility of our joints and limbs. The next step should be to increase overall flexibility by starting to extend the muscles and tendons beyond their normal range of movement.
alignment, while stretching is one of the most neglected aspects of flexibility training. It is important to be aware of how crucial it can be to the overall benefits of our stretching. Bad posture and incorrect technique can cause imbalances in the muscles that can lead to injury, while proper posture will ensure that the targeted muscle group receives the best possible stretch. Stretching is beneficial when done correctly.
Reasons to avoid stretching
If you’ve had a recent bone fracture, sprain or strain
If you suffer from any limited range-of-motion issues
If you’re suffering from any joint or bone infection or inflammation