For decades, we have been told about the importance of stretching before exercise. But how many people really understand why it is so important? In a nutshell, stretching serves as a critical link for the body between a sedentary state and physical activity.
What Makes Stretching So Important?
If you want to be truly fit, it is not enough to build muscle and get aerobic exercise. Flexibility is also essential, and stretching can help you achieve it. We all need to stretch to help protect our mobility. It helps keep the muscles strong and flexible and maintains a range of motion in the joints. Without stretching, the muscles can tighten and shorten, creating a risk for injury when they are used for activity.
Stretching regularly can help keep your muscles longer, leaner, and more flexible. This helps prevent injuries from too much force on the muscles with exertion. Having healthy, flexible muscles can also help prevent falls.
What Are The Reasons To Stretch Before Exercise?
Stretching is an easy, natural thing to do. Animals such as cats and dogs stretch instinctively to prepare their muscles for exercise. Stretching before exercise:
- Feels good
- Reduces muscle tension and relaxes the body
- Increases circulation
- Improves flexibility
- Helps prevent stiff, sore muscles
- Develops body awareness
- Signals the muscles to prepare the body for exercise
- Increases range of motion
- Improves coordination by allowing for freer movement
- Helps prevents muscles strains and other injuries by enabling muscles to resist stress better
What Are The Proper Stretching Techniques?
Stretching is beneficial when done correctly. If not done properly, it can cause harm. Stick with the following basic techniques when you stretch:
- Don’t overstretch: Start out slowly with a gentle stretch, and increase it only when you feel the muscles relax.
- Breath deeply and slowly: Exhale naturally as you bend forward.
- Hold your stretch in a comfortable position: Tension should subside as you hold the stretch.
- Refrain from bouncing when you stretch: It tightens the muscles you are stretching.
- Do not try to force flexibility: It will come in time if you continue stretching correctly.
Are There Times When You Should Not Stretch?
Stretching can help increase your performance in various activities, but there are times when it is not recommended. Do not stretch if:
- Range of motion is limited for some reason
- A joint is infected or inflamed
- You have recently suffered a bone fracture, strain, or sprain
How Long Does It Take To Improve Flexibility With Stretching?
Don’t expect miracles the first time you stretch. If your muscles have shortened and become tight over time, it could take weeks of regular stretching to regain flexibility. Stick to a program of daily stretching to achieve the best results.
Do You Have The Right Health Insurance?
To stay healthy and fit, it is important to have regular checkups and see a doctor promptly for any injury or illness. Our friendly agent can help you find a health insurance plan to suit your needs at the best available rates.