Prevent Injuries By Stretching
A lack of flexibility could be the cause or a major contributing factor of many injuries and the solution to this is proper and regular stretching.
Stretching counters the gradual tightening and constriction your body develop from both under- and over-use. It really is the perfect solution for long periods where you are inactive and is probably about the simplest and easiest of all physical activities.
With regular stretching you will:
- Decrease muscle tension, which is the most common cause of back and neck pains and headaches.
- Decrease the incidence of all types of injuries, from joint sprains to tendonitis to muscle strains and spasms.
- Speed up the recovery rate from injuries.
- Increase physical and mental relaxation.
- Improve performance of any skilled movement.
- Improve and increase body awareness.
- Slow the aging process.
- Enhance the neurological system.
- Improve circulation.
- Support the detox system.
Don’t stretch an area if you:
- Recently broke a bone.
- Have an infection or inflammation in or around a joint involved with the stretch.
- Experience sharp or acute pain with stretching or joint movements.
- Recently had a sprain or strain in the area being stretched.
- Have an unstable joint in the area.
- Have osteoporosis.
- Have any disease that needs medical approval before undertaking any new activity.
How to stretch and important things to consider;
- Warm Up FirstSome people believe that it’s better to stretch right before your workout. Not true! The fact is that the best time to stretch is after you’ve had a light warm up. Injuries occur when your muscles are cold. Another thing is that after a light warm up or workout—think jumping jacks here— you’ll be able to accomplish a far better stretching session than when the blood hasn’t really started flowing.
- Breathe ProperlyProper breathing is important in any physical activity, and flexibility training is no different. While stretching it’s important to breathe slowly. In through the nose, hold for a moment, and then exhale through the mouth in order to get the most out of stretching. Proper breathing helps to relax the body, increase blood flow, and even serves to remove some lactic acid build up after workouts.
During most forms of stretching, practitioners should hold the stretch until they exhale, at which point they may increase or make the stretch more strenuous, if appropriate.
- Stretch Consistently and RegularlyAs with anything else in this world, if you want to see improvements you need to be consistent. Stretching is something that you should do four to six days per week. That said, each day shouldn’t encompass a rigorous flexibility routine: doing so could cause injury. Still, make sure that your rigorous flexibility routines fall on the same day(s) every week.
Also make sure that you’re pretty consistent with the stretches you engage in. Generally, each stretch should last at least 20 seconds in duration.
- Increase Strength and Flexibility TogetherWhen increasing flexibility it’s always a good idea to increase strength in the area being you’re stretching. For example, if you want to increase the flexibility of your legs, make sure that you’re also doing something to increase strength there.
- Consider Mixing Stretching Within a WorkoutAs was noted earlier, stretching before warming up isn’t a great idea. You’ll get a better stretch if it’s done after the muscles are warm. You can perform some light stretching in between sets when working out, and don’t be afraid to try static stretching after a workout in order to relax.
- Stretching Cautions
- Always check with your doctor before attempting any flexibility or training routine.
- Stretching may cause a mild sensation or burning in muscles. It should not cause outright pain in your joints or muscles. If it does, stop and see a doctor.
- Always stay hydrated when working out or stretching.
- Depending on the type of stretch, you may be tightening your muscles during flexibility routines. Do not bounce, however.
- Never begin stretching right after you wake up. You’re not warmed up enough yet.