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Stretching

 

Stretching is a component of fitness that’s often overlooked when designing a fitness program. Benefits of stretching are increased flexibility, range of motion and circulation and can help alleviate stress. Stretching exercises can also help to prevent injury. A muscle’s job is to contract and relax, and the majority of the stretching exercises we do for fitness focus on contraction. Thus, it’s important to balance that out by stretching out your muscles so they don’t become too tight and rip or tear.

There are different types of stretching exercises: Static and Dynamic. Static stretching involves stretching a muscle and holding it, whereas dynamic stretching involves moving that muscle while you stretch it.

Usually dynamic benefits of stretching are best done before activity (e.g., running) and static stretches are done after an activity. It’s important with stretching, as with any form of exercise, which you warm up first. Stretching a cold muscle can be like stretching exercises with a frozen elastic band. It’s best to get some blood flowing to the areas that you are going to stretch or move before you start to exercise.

Stretching exercises should never cause pain. You should feel a slight pull, but you should never take it to a level where there is pain. Flexibility will increase over time, and overstretching can be just as problematic as not stretching. It’s important to breathe while you’re doing stretching exercises, as this can help your body relax so you enjoy the stretch more. Hold a stretch for at least 10-15 seconds to loosen a muscle and repeat two to three times.

If your goal is to increase flexibility, then you’ll want to hold the stretch for 30 seconds or longer.

List of all Stretching Articles
The Athlete’s Guide to Injury
The Athlete’s Guide to Injury
It's rare for a recreational or professional athlete to go through their athletic career ...
By Kathleen TrotterPublished 5 Mar 2012
Best Stretches for Flexibility
Best Stretches for Flexibility
Staying limber with the best stretches for flexibility is an effective way to prevent injuries ...
By George PontingPublished 8 Apr 2013
Does Stretching Heal Injury?
Does Stretching Heal Injury?
Stretching is a lost art nowadays. It is basically a technique that helps you increase the ...
By George PontingPublished 6 Sep 2013
Simple Abdominal Stretches
Simple Abdominal Stretches
It is highly necessary to stretch your abdominal muscles every once in a while, especially if ...
By George PontingPublished 7 Jan 2013

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