Keep Your Limbs Limber
The importance of stretching is often overlooked due to our busy schedules and lives. Whether you work 9 to 5, are a professional athlete or a stay-at-home mom, you should understand the body’s need to stretch in order to keep yourself limber and keep injuries at bay.
Stretching, at its fundamental, is the process of elongating muscles. Stretching can be performed in a number of ways, depending on your health goals, your natural abilities and skills and other physically determined factors. For example, a gymnast or runner will be employing a totally different regimen than someone who is using a stretching program to correct his/her faulty posture.
What are the benefits of stretching?
- Improves muscle balance around joints and increases flexibility and range of motion.
- Warms the soft tissues to help prevent injury.
- Improves circulation of blood and much-needed oxygen to all areas of the body.
- Decreases muscle stiffness and cramping.
- Improves muscle tone, posture, flexibility and coordination.
- Decreases back pain.
- Improves overall total performance.
- Helps promote healing to muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints following injury.
- Helps to eliminate stress and improve mental acuity.
While these benefits might make you eager to start stretching right away, it is absolutely essential to practice proper stretching techniques. Doing so will allow you to avoid any unnecessary injury.
Here are some tips to get you started:
– Warm up properly before stretching
– Hold each stretch for at least 25-30 seconds
– Don’t make sudden and jumpy movements
– Focus on pain-free stretching
– Stretch both sides of your boy in equal measure
– Stretch before and after all strenuous activity
Stretching takes up only about ten to fifteen minutes of your time each day, but it can greatly add to your overall performance and increase the efficiency of your workout. To stretch safely and receive the maximum benefit, consult a physiotherapist. If you have a medical condition be sure to see your doctor first.