Benefits of Stretching
The Benefits of Stretching
What is stretching? What are the benefits of stretching? How many types of stretching exercises are there? Why should you warm up before you stretch and begin your physical exercise? And why should you stretch after you have completed your exercise routines?
Stretching is a type of exercise. It is usually done after or together with a warm up and before doing a workout or participating in a sports event. If you go without warming up stretching exercises, you are more prone to injury. This is because your muscles are still cold. When you warm up and stretch, you gradually increase your heart beat, raise your body temperate and get your blood flowing smoothly through your cardiovascular system.
Stretching after completing a training session or a game is also necessary. It will help prevent muscle soreness. After a game or training, your muscles are already warm and they are more responsive to stretching.
You should also stretch at least for 10 minutes a day three times a week even if you don't exercise due to injury, old age or any other reasons. When you exercise your muscles, you prevent it from atrophy and continue to perform tasks with ease.
There are different types of stretching exercises. They are dynamic stretching, active isolated stretching, proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation or pnf stretching, static stretching, ballistic stretching, isometric stretching and passive stretching.
Dynamic stretching is best done before you start a workout or playing games. Examples of dynamic stretching are shoulder circles, arm swings, half squat, side bends, trunk rotations, full back stretch and joint rotations. The dynamic stretches that you choose should relate to the workout or activity you are going to perform.
Static stretches are best done to cool down. When you do static stretching, you hold on to a position up to 30 seconds before you move on to the next.
Even though each stretching exercise has its own techniques, functions and involve working on each muscle or muscle group, the aim and benefits of stretching are almost the same. Here as some of them.
- The right type of stretching can act as an injury remedy. A pulled muscle, hamstring injury, ankle sprain or other sports injuries would benefit from stretching exercises.
- The benefits of stretching include improving or maintaining your dynamic and static flexibility. What this means is you are able to carry out the movement of your muscles though its full range of motion.
One way to check if you are flexible is to sit down against a wall and try to touch your toes. If you can't, then it shows that you may have lost your elasticity. Being flexible also means you can move your joints without any external support.
- It opens up your energy flow. Certain stretching techniques affect the energy meridians. When the energy meridians are tapped, negative energies that block the system are released and positive energy flows.
- Exercising releases stress and since stretching is a form of exercise, it has the same effect. The endorphins that are released from the brain makes you feel good and improves your state of mind.
- Another one of the benefits of stretching is it helps improve blood circulation. Yoga stretches for example involve breathing exercises. When you breathe deeply and correctly, you improve your cardiovascular system and thus improve your blood circulation.
- Neck and shoulder stretches may lower your blood pressure. The reason behind it is that when you stretch your neck, you improve oxygen flow to your brain. It may also help develop your memory and concentration.
- The benefits of stretching include the ability to relief back pain. Back pain can happen because of muscle imbalance, strains or injury. Doing back stretches like the cat stretch may help. Active isolated stretching may also help relief lower back pain.
- Stretching helps maintain, improve or correct posture. Stress causes your muscles to tighten. It will cause you to hunch forward. Sitting too long in front of the computer will also affect your posture and may cause back pain. Regularly stretching the muscles of your trunk, standing calf stretch and deep lower back may help rectify the problem.