The Importance of Stretching

Stretching is a form of passive exercise in which a specific muscle or tendon is deliberately flexed or stretched in order to improve the muscle’s felt elasticity and achieve comfortable muscle tone. The result is a feeling of increased muscle control, flexibility, and range of motion.

Stretching keeps the muscles flexible and strong allowing the body to move and respond quicker. We need that flexibility to maintain a range of motion in the joints. 

As the muscles shorten and become tight, and when we to call on these muscles for activity they are weak and unable to respond quickly or extend to there full extension. 

Benefits of stretching 

  • Enhances muscular co-ordination. 
  • Increases range of movement in the joints. 
  • Allows for more movement from a result of increased circulation due to increased entertainment levels. 
  • Reduced muscle tension. 
  • Improves performance in physical activities. 
  • Increased blood flow in your muscles. 
  • Improves posture. 
  • Acts as a stress relief.
  • Help improve quality of sleep. 
  • Prevents sleep disrupting cramps after high intensity training. 

Two most common forms of stretches are Dynamic – Active movement stretching that causes the muscles to stretch. Usually done before an activity. 

Static – Involve holding a stretch for a period of time. Beneficial after an activity. 

When stretching try focus on activating areas of your body you use the most for the activity you are training for.  Such as calves, quads, glutes, iliopsoas for running.  And your hip flexor, quads, hamstrings and claves for cycling. 

Also look at stretching that relieves pressure areas like your shoulders, neck and lower back. 

There should be consistency with stretching. Try add it to your every day routine. Even by taking 20 minutes off your activity to get it in will be more beneficial in the long run. 

Some key safety tips for stretching. 

  • Don’t bounce within your stretch. 
  • Don’t stretch beyond the point of comfort. 
  • Don’t stretch cold, if don’t before main activity try warm up for 5minute before then stretch. 
  • Don’t over do. Over stretching can cause ligament and tendon damage if done excessively. 

Conclusion: Performing stretching on a regular basis will improve your circulation, which increases blood flow to your muscles and allow more range of motion in the muscles. This in time can shorten recovery times and reduce muscle soreness to allow you attack the next session or race with more mobility and movement. 

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