by Tessa Kanaris
Why stretching is important
Stretching keeps the muscles supple and strong. We need that flexibility to maintain a range of motion in the joints. Without flexibility the muscles shorten and become tight. When you need the muscles for activity, they are weak and unable to extend all the way. That puts you a greater t risk for joint pain, strains, and muscle damage.
Regular stretching keeps muscles long, lean, and flexible. Healthy muscles also help a person with balance problems to avoid falls.
Where to start
With a body full of muscles, the idea of daily stretching may seem overwhelming. You can begin slowly and gently increase your stretching distance longer and longer with time. Stretching your shoulders, neck, and lower back is also beneficial. Aim for a program of daily stretches or at least three or four times per week. Find a good program in your area or download a program from the internet. Please be very careful if you have any injuries always confirm with a professional before beginning any new program.
The cumulative effect of stretching
Stretching once today will not magically give you perfect flexibility. You will need to do it over time and remain committed to the process. Tight muscles have taken time to become rigid, continuous stretching and consistency is need to for them to be extended.
We used to believe that stretching was necessary to warm up the muscles and prepare them for activity. However, mounting research has shown that stretching the muscles before they are warmed up can hurt them. “When it is cold the fibres are tight, and this can damage them. All it takes to warm up the muscles before stretching is five to 10 minutes of light activity, such as a quick walk. You can also stretch after an aerobic or weight-training workout.
Hold a stretch for 30 seconds. Do not bounce, which can cause injury. You will feel tension during a stretch, but you should not feel pain. If you do, there may be an injury or damage in the tissue. Stop stretching that muscle and talk to your doctor.
Stretching after working out can help you reap many rewards. When you stretch your muscles after a workout, you are helping to give your body a fast-track recovery, while also releasing stress and tension, and boosting the flexibility of your joints
- Stretching Improves Heart Function – Exercise gets your blood flowing which provides several important health benefits. It’s just as important, however, to get your heart rate back to a normal level after the workout is over. Stretching correctly will help your heart return to a normal rate in a healthy manner.
- Stretching Reduces Lactic Acid – The body produces lactic acid whenever you exercise, which contributes to sore, achy muscles. Stretching can help reduce the accumulation of lactic acid throughout the body. It also relaxes tense muscles.
- Stretching Limits Muscle and Joint Strain – Stretching in the correct way can limit the strain on your muscles and joints. It will help your muscles stay flexible and toned. This will ultimately reduce the chance of injury after exercising.