Proper Stretching How To
Most everyone has heard that stretching should be a part of your workout routine. However, many don’t know what a proper stretching routine is for or what it should look like. Stretching is the lengthening of muscles to increase muscle flexibility and joint range of motion.
Stretching is vital to any workout routine or sports activity. The key, though, is to make sure you do the right types of stretching at the right times and that each stretch is done correctly. Dynamic and static stretching are important, and how and when they are performed is even more important. If done correctly, stretching can help ease the soreness of a new workout or prevent injury.
- Warm-Up: Always start any exercise routine or sport with a quick warm-up to get the blood pumping. This can be done with a brisk walk or slow jog for about 5 minutes.
- Dynamic Stretching: This type of stretching is slow and controlled movement such as arm circles or yoga movements. You can use movements performed in your workout or sport of choice but do them in a gentler way until the body is ready for more intense movement.
- Workout/Sport: Once your body is warmed up and muscle tissues are more pliable, go through your workout routine as you normally would.
- Static Stretching: This type of stretching is best after the muscles have been worked and are ready for some TLC. Static stretching requires that you hold a stretch for a certain amount of time. However, there are some important things to remember when performing static stretches.
- Don’t Bounce: Bouncing in stretches increase your risk of tears in the muscle.
- Hold for 30 Seconds: To reap the benefits of a stretch, it is recommended to hold each stretch for at least 20-30 seconds. It takes time to lengthen muscles safely. If you have muscles that are tighter, hold for longer periods.
- Relax and Breath: It is important to breath slowly and deeply while you are in each stretch. This allows oxygen to get to the muscles which will help restore them.
- Discomfort, Not Pain: Stretching can be hard, especially if your muscles are really tight. When you stretch, make sure you push yourself to a point of feeling some discomfort but never pain. If you feel pain in a stretch, back of it and go to as far as your body wants to go.
- Stretch Both Sides: You will, more than likely, be tighter on one side of your body than the other. Make sure, though, to stretch both sides. It is best if you can stretch your tighter side for a little longer so you can begin to create a flexibility balance in your body.
Proper stretching can lead to a more balance body, better coordination and balance, and better athletic performance. It is important, though, to keep up with any stretching routine you put in place. It’s easy to begin skipping out on stretching once you become more flexible, but if you do you may end up with a setback and must start all over. Regular stretching is ideal and will help keep your body in a better condition.