Thursday, 23 May 2013

The importance of stretching

Many times, people tend to believe that their focus should solely lie on the core of their workout. In the process, they forget something that is even more important: Stretching. This post is dedicated to opening your eyes to the importance of stretching.

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Stretching is useful for both injury prevention and injury treatment. It helps improve flexibility, makes you feel more relaxed, enhances movement, promotes circulation and protects against injury. You should stretch after a warm-up and when cooling down after a workout. If you want to stretch following your warm-up make it quick, don’t push it too far, as your muscles won’t t be fully warmed up, and stretching a cold muscle is harmful. Stretching too far actually can damage the muscles.

Recuperation can be increased when one stretches 10-15 minutes as a cool down. Stretching after an intensive workout, helps reduce muscle soreness commonly known as DOMS (delayed onset muscle sore) which occurs a day after your workout. Stretching before going to bed relaxes the muscles and will help you unwind from the tension of the day and have a good nights sleep but make sure that you don’t overstretch and injure yourself.  Stretching can help improve flexibility. Improved flexibility will make you feel more relaxed, enhance movement, promote circulation and protect against injury. It increases blood flow to the muscle. Stretching helps muscle growth as it lengthens your muscles and thus giving your muscle fibres a greater range of motion when lifting weights.

Static stretching refers to passive stretching where a stretch is held in a specific location for 10-15 seconds. Ballistic or Bouncing Stretches involve dynamic muscular movements, like bouncing bent over hamstring stretch which when performed before exercise will help prevent injuries during your workout. Active-isolated stretching involves isolating one muscle group at a time and stretch it by contracting the opposite muscle, hold the stretch for 1 or 2 seconds and repeat 8 to 10 times.  You can also use a rope or a partner to enhance the stretch.

Stretching helps prevent injury and reduce pain. Muscles become sore after exercise because they accumulate lactic acid. Lactic acid is what makes your muscles sore and tight after you work out. To prevent muscle soreness, you should incorporate a cool down session after working out that includes a lot of stretching. Stretching will help your muscles release some of the lactic acid, and you won’t feel so sore after your workout. Make sure you hold each stretch and focus in on the muscles that you worked on during your workout for maximum results.

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