For many stretching takes a back seat to their exercise routine, which is a big mistake. Stretching has many benefits, including increasing your range of motion and decreasing your risk of injury. It doesn’t take long at the start of your workout and your body will be thanking you. The best thing about stretching is it can be done almost anywhere and with little to no equipment.

Benefits of Stretching

Although stretching is beneficial some studies show that stretching doesn’t reduce muscle soreness after exercise and holding a stretch before a sprint may worsen performance. However, research has shown that stretching can improve flexibility and the joint’s range of motion.

Benefits of stretching regularly

  • Improves your performance in physical activities such as weight training
  • Decreases your risk of injuries
  • It helps your joints move through a full range of motion
  • Increases blood flow to muscles
  • Enables your muscles to work more effectively
  • Improves your daily life and ability to do daily activities
  • Improves your posture
  • Helps to heal and prevent back pain
  • It’s great for stress relief and can calm your mind
  • Helps decrease tension headaches

Learn to enjoy the ritual of stretching and make it a part of your lifestyle which will benefit you for life.

Stretching Essentials

Before plunging straight into stretching, you want to make sure you do it safely and effectively. Proper technique when is comes to stretching is key. Doing it incorrectly can cause more harm than good.

Use these tips below to help keep your routine safe

  • Don’t consider stretching a warmup – Before stretching, warm up with a light walk, jog, or cycle. Go at low intensity for 5 to 10 minutes just to warm up the body as stretching cold muscles can lead to injury. Or you can stretch after a workout when your muscles are already warm. Skip stretching before activities such as sprinting or an intense activity as studies have shown it can decrease performance.
  • Strive for symmetry – Everyone has different genetics for flexibility. Instead of striving for the flexibility of a dancer or gymnast, focus on having equal flexibility from one side of your body to another. If flexibility is not equal on both sides this can lead to an injury.
  • Focus on major muscle groups – Concentrate on the major muscle groups such as thighs, calves, hips, lower back, neck, and shoulders. Make sure that you stretch both sides equally. Also, stretch muscles and joints that you routinely use or that you use in your activity.
  • Don’t bounce – Stretch in a smooth movement, without bouncing. Bouncing as you stretch can lead to injury in your muscle and contribute to muscle tightness.
  • Hold your stretch – Breathe normally and hold each stretch for about 30 seconds, in areas with a problem, hold the stretch fro 60 seconds.
  • Don’t aim for pain – Expect to feel tension while stretching but you don’t want to feel pain. If you experience pain you’ve pushed too far, back off to the point you don’t feel any pain, then hold the stretch.
  • Make stretches sport specific – If you play a sport stretch the muscles you use more often. For example, if you play soccer, stretch your hamstrings as you’re more vulnerable to hamstring strains.
  • Keep up with your stretching – You will see the most results with consistency, Stretching two to three times a week for 5 to 10 minutes can help you achieve the most benefits. Skipping stretching regularly can risk you losing the potential benefits, such as your range of motion will decrease again if you stop or skip too many sessions.

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