How often have you been told that it’s good to stretch before bed or working out? Now, how many times have you actually done so? Stretching is often overlooked and undervalued but there is so much benefit that stems from actually following through with stretching rather than choosing not to do it all together.
This blog post will be looking at why stretching is important but the right ways to execute it as well.
Increased blood flow and circulation
Fewer aches and pains
When to Stretch:
It’s recommended to stretch when your muscles are warmed up. If you’re doing endurance or strength exercises, it’s best to stretch after, not before.
Tips for safe stretching:
(According to the American Heart Association)
- Relax and breathe normally while stretching. Then stretch while pushing the breath slowly out your mouth. Count to 10 slowly or time yourself for 10-30 seconds. Breathe normally during the stretch.
- A stretch should always be smooth and slow, never jerky or bouncy. This can cause muscles to tighten and may result in injuries.
- Hold the stretch for 10-30 seconds and repeat each stretch 3-5 times. Remember to breathe normally during each stretch.
- As you become more flexible, try reaching farther in each exercise. A mild pulling feeling during a stretch is normal. Sharp or stabbing pain or joint pain means you should stop, you’re stretching too far.
- Always keep your joints slightly bent, never “locked” in a straight position. This can cause injury.
It’s important to always remember that stretching should never be painful and only do what your body feels comfortable doing. Flexibility takes time but with routine stretching your body will be capable of doing more physically intense activities as the risk of injury is lowered.