For those who exercise regularly, stretching after a warm up is part of the routine. However, there are many who make the mistake of skipping the practise of stretching before they begin their daily workout. So, if you are one of those who believe in going in directly for the jugular, then be prepared for the muscle pain or strain at a later stage.
Stretching before exercising is considered to be a preparation. It works like a signal to your brain, which in turn will work to loosen your body before you begin your workout regime.
Different types of stretches
If you are regular at the gym, then you need to maintain the dynamic stretch. In this, you take up simple exercises such as swinging your arms, ankles or rotating your neck in clockwise and anti-clockwise direction. You can increase the frequency, but maintain the range of motion.
Another stretching method that is mostly common amongst sportspersons is that of the proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation. These movements are basically contracting and relaxing muscles, giving relief at the stress points in your body. As a result, your body becomes loose and pliable.
Static stretches are for runners who have signed up for marathons. You stretch a part of your body to such an extent that it causes is some discomfort. Remember, you have to stretch it only for 30 seconds and not more. You don’t want to end up straining your muscles in the run up to the marathon.
Benefits of stretching
Stretching enables flexibility of movement in your body. The main reason that stretching is advised before a rigorous workout is to increase range of motion of the body. As a result, your intense workout will not tire you out easily.
In addition, it improves the circulation of blood to your muscles. It also brings down the risk of muscle soreness which usually occurs due to stiff muscles. If you are injured, then stretching is the best way to start your healing process. Instead of starting with simple exercises, start with stretching. Once the range of motion increases, small exercises will not be a huge task for your recovering body.
Another benefit of stretching is agility. Stretching everyday ensures that your muscles do not get tight, and as a result you are able to maintain a good body posture. In addition, stretching through the joints enables better balance of your body. Since you become agile, you are not prone to falling or getting injured frequently.
When to avoid stretching
One of commonly wrong assumption about stretching is that you should stretch when you are injured or have an acute muscle strain. You are inadvertently, just putting more stress on your body. If you are in the healing stages of an injury, stretching is advisable. However, if you are in recuperating stages of an injury, stretching can only backfire. This is often witnessed when one’s is suffering from a fracture. It is always advisable to consult an expert before you begin stretching.