Professional sprinters or runners sometimes need to warm up their bodies for an hour before a 10-second race. This is how important warm-up is. And the best warm-up today is none other than stretching.
What Is Stretching?
Stretching is a form of physical activity in which certain specific muscles or groups of muscles are deliberately flexed or stretched. It helps in improving the flexibility and elasticity of muscles.
It is also used to reduce muscle cramps and improve day to day functioning of muscles.
Even if you are not an athlete, stretching your daily routine can help you a lot. It can be used to prevent injury.
Benefits Of Stretching
When you stretch your body regularly it has various benefits some of them are:
1. Decreased Injury Risk
Stretching regularly may help you eliminate the risk of various muscle and joint injuries. It makes your bones, muscles and joints strong.
2. Improved Athletic Performance
Before starting with the exercise you should include warm up in your schedule and especially stretching. It is used both the times before the start of your work out regime and at the end to cool down your body. It helps your muscles to warm up and cool down properly thus making your body strong and healthy.
3. Improved Circulation
When our muscles get stretched the blood flow from our heart to different parts of the body improves. Thus it is also responsible for improved blood circulation.
4. Increased Body Motion
More freedom of movement comes when you are able to move your joint with full range of motion. Doing a few stretches everyday can help you increase your range of motion.
5. Elevated Flexibility
Flexibility of the body is very crucial for your overall health. Improved flexibility can help you to perform your daily activities with more comfort and ease. It can also delay the reduction in mobility caused due to age. When you stretch your body it elevates your flexibility level.
6. Improved Posture
Poor posture can be caused due to muscle imbalances. Research suggests that stretching a specific group of muscles can help you decrease the musculoskeletal pain and enhance proper alignment.
Types And Techniques
There are several types of stretching techniques which include:
1. Dynamic Stretching
Dynamic Stretches are the active movements that are responsible for causing stretch in your muscles. But in this technique stretch is never held in the end position. These are usually done before workout and as a part of warm up.
2. Static Stretching
This type involves holding a stretch in a particular position for 10-30 seconds. It is most beneficial when performed after a workout to cool down the body.
Tips To Start A Stretching Routine
- Take things slow, don’t force your body into it.
- Make a solid grasp of proper form and technique otherwise you may hurt yourself.
- You can stretch at any time during the day.
- The best to perform is:5-10 Minutes of Dynamic type before the workout.
Another 5-10 Minutes of Static type after workout.
- On days when you are not performing any workout, plan to schedule a stretch routine for at least 5-10 minutes.
- Avoid bouncing while doing stretches.
- Do not try to stretch your body beyond the point of your comfort.
Full Body Routine
When planning to try a full body stretching routine do not forget to include one stretch for each muscle group in your body.
If you feel that certain muscles in your body need extra attention because they are stiff you can perform more stretches for that particular group.
To target those areas you can try these tips:
- Perform more than one stretch for that group.
- Hold stretch a little longer than usual.
- Perform it more than once.
When To Stretch
There is no fixed time as to when you should do stretching. But stretching at certain times can give more and more benefits.
Warm muscles perform way better than cold muscles. It is very essential to include stretching in your warm up routine so you can make your muscles and body exercise ready.
To reduce muscle soreness after a long day at the gym you can use a few stretches. It can also help you to cool down your body and bring your heart rate to normal.
Whether you are new to exercise or you are a sprinter or athlete, stretching daily can give you a lot of benefits. By incorporating various types like static and dynamic you can make a proper routine.