The Safety and Benefits of Stretching



The body always needs to have a good stretch every now and then, whether a person exercises or not. It is a great way to stay flexible and energetic throughout the day. Stretching has been known to have benefits, which includes easing lower back pain. Before I start with the benefits of stretching, let’s begin with how to stretch safely:

The Mayo Clinic (http://www.mayoclinic.org) advises to use the following tips when thinking about stretching:

1-Don’t consider stretching a warm-up
When thinking about starting to stretch, they recommend to warm-up with a light jog or biking in order to warm the muscles. Also, they suggest holding off your stretching regimen before any extraneous activity as it might decrease performance.

2-Focus on major muscle groups
While stretching, make sure to focus on the major muscle groups like your calves, thighs, hips, lower back, neck and shoulders. Stretch the muscles and joints that are used on a daily basis and be fair to both sides of your body. If you stretch one side, make sure you stretch the other as well.
3-Don’t bounce
Bouncing might cause your body strain or injure your muscle since stretching is supposed to be smooth and slow.
4-Hold your stretch
For a proper stretch, hold each “move” for approximately thirty seconds, but if you’re targeting problem areas, hold for sixty seconds.
5-Don’t aim for pain
While stretching, know that tension in the targeted area is expected, especially if it’s the first time. If the area hurts, back down to a more comfortable spot. Don’t push the stretch too far.
6-Make stretches sport specific
If there is a certain activity or sport that you participate in, tailor your stretch routine towards that. For example, if you play soccer, focus on your hamstrings.
7-Keep up with your stretching
Stretching is not a one-night stand but a long-term relationship. You cannot expect your body to reap the benefits of stretches that you’ve only done once or twice. Doing them consistently on a regular basis will allow your body to remain loose and love you for it.
8-Bring movement into your stretching
Gentle movement can help you achieve flexibility in specific places and types of positions. Good ways to stretch are by doing yoga or Tai Chi. If you’re aiming for a certain level of expertise in a type of movement, start slowly and increase your stretching routine level slowly until your body/muscles get used to it.
9-Approach with caution
This applies to every activity including stretching. Stretching doesn’t prevent injuries and in some cases, can cause more harm than good. Always ask your doctor about what stretches you should be doing if you have a pre-existing injury.
10-Breathe
One of the most important aspects in life is to breathe and that does not exclude stretching, in fact, it is important to breathe especially during your stretch to make sure your body is relaxed and not tense.

Benefits of Stretching (http://www.fitday.com)

1-Increased Circulation
It has been proven that stretching increases blood flow and supplies the muscles and cartilage with nutrients. Ever wonder how you can get rid of your muscle soreness? This is the answer. The more you stretch, the less your muscles are sore, the less sore they are, the less painful your workouts will be, and the more comfortable you’ll be in your day-to-day life.
2-Flexibility
Lack of flexibility is one of the main reasons for joint, muscle, and tendon injuries. The more birthdays you have, the more likely you’ll be in pain because your muscles are getting tighter and shorter. Stretching helps lengthen the time before you’re inclined to get easily injured.
3-Increased Range of Motion
The amount of times I lost my balance on a flat surface is innumerable; turns out that losing your balance is easily cured by stretching.
4-Reduce Stress
I have yet to meet any human being that enjoys the effect stress has on their body and spirit, stretching helps to slowly reduce it. Endorphins are the chemicals released by your body that trigger a positive feeling within you and act as sedatives. Fortunately, stretching is considered exercise, and while stretching, the body releases endorphins just like it would during an extensive workout, sex, eating a good slice of chocolate cake, or even listening to your favorite song.
5-Alleviate Lower Back Pain
Certain stretches helps with posture which aid in helping reduce and sometimes, even eliminate lower back pain. Stretching to prevent injuries is a highly debated topic but it is a recognized fact that when stretching, you are more likely to benefit from the stretches than lose anything from them. If you don’t want to stretch for pain maintenance, then stretch to reduce your stress levels.

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