We all know how beneficial exercising can be for physical health, but stretching holds the same importance. It can be easy to forget to stretch daily, but doing so improves your body’s flexibility, which helps your joints maintain the full range of their motion. Stretching also keeps tension and stiffness away from your muscles, reducing the risk of injury.
Benefits of Stretching
There are several benefits to stretching, such as:
- Increased flexibility
- Better range of motions
- Improved circulation of blood
- Reduced risk of injury during daily activities or exercise
Tips for Stretching Effectively
Stretch When your Muscles are Warm
Stretching cold muscles can be harmful as it can cause injury. Warm your muscles up by doing light-intensity exercises such as walking or biking for ten minutes. You can also stretch after you have done your workout routine. Even jumping around for a few minutes can warm up your muscles to get them ready to stretch.
Keep your Focus on Major Muscle Groups
Muscles of your neck, shoulder, calves, thighs, lower back, and hips are considered major muscles; therefore, keep your focus on these muscles while you are stretching. Moreover, do not forget to stretch those joints and muscles in your routine use. Always be sure to stretch both sides of the body.
Stretch According to your Sport
If you play a sport, you can benefit from stretching the most used muscles. For instance, soccer players can prevent the risk of hamstring strains by doing hamstring stretches.
Bouncing while stretching can cause muscle injuries. In addition, it can also make your muscles taut instead of flexible. Therefore, try to avoid bouncing while stretching.
Avoid Holding your Breath
Easy and relaxed breathing while stretching can help in reducing muscle tension. Less tension means you will be able to stretch your muscles more. Holding your breath increases tension in your body, which ultimately leads to decreased effectiveness.
Repeating the Stretches
Even though stretching the targeted muscle once can significantly benefit it, repeating the stretch after 30 seconds can make your movements even more flexible and smooth.
Make Stretching Pain Free
Stretching is not supposed to cause pain in your muscles. You can expect stretching to develop tension in your muscles, but if your muscles start aching, it means you have over-stretched them.
For effective results, it is important to stretch regularly. Stretching two to three times a week is ideal. Having an app for stretching or a calendar to remind you can assist in being consistent with it. Showing consistency with stretches can lead to improvement in your flexibility as well as delay the age-related decrease in mobility. You can do your stretches at home while standing, sitting on the floor, or on a chair. Use a towel or an exercise mat to do stretches on the floor. Moreover, it is essential to have a good posture when standing or sitting; keep your back straight and avoid slouching your shoulders.