Stretching Exercise: All You Need To Know
What Is a Stretching Exercise?
Stretching Exercise is an exercise which not only improves the overall physical appearance, lengthens muscles and gives the toned look but also improves physical fitness and health.
Stretching is the exercise which will help you in preventing injuries. If you are an athlete with a good stretching routine, you will have much fewer chances of causing injuries than tan any athlete who doesn’t have any stretching exercise in his routine.
Stretching exercise is a great way to cool down and warm up muscles. You will feel much less soreness and faster recovery with stretching exercise in your daily routine.
Who Should Do a Stretching Exercise?
Stretching Exercise is for everybody. You can also follow a regular stretching routine or program.
Any person of any age group can get benefitted from stretching. Be it a toddler or any grandparents.
Stretching is an important part of training for athletes. So if you are an athlete, you should definitely include a stretching routine in your regular training or workout.
Be it soccer, basketball, cricket, hockey or any other sport, every professional team has its own flexibility trainer who works on improving the physical performance of the players.
But don’t ever get discouraged whenever you see someone stretching better than you. Some people are naturally stretchier than others. Like women can stretch better than men.
So don’t get disheartened, with little more effort you can pull off your stretches too.
Why Should You Do a Stretching Exercise?
One word answer: FLEXIBILITY.
You won’t like yourself packed up and jammed where you can’t even move your body the way you want right? Well, stretching improves the flexibility of your body.
Many well-known champions of various sports include a regular stretching routine in their training schedule. Whether it is Ronnie Coleman, Kai Greene from bodybuilding, Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi from Soccer, Virat Kohli or AB De Villiers from Cricket, LeBron James or Stephen Curry from Basketball. Each of these Champions from different fields of sports displays an excellent physical performance on a daily basis. The secret behind these top of the world performance is regular hard work and a regular stretching routine.
Do you still need any more reasons?
So let us have a look at what are the benefits of stretching
- Stretching helps in building better quality muscles.
- It helps in improving muscle appearance.
- Stretching exercise helps in curing postural problems.
- Risks of injuries are highly prevented from occurring.
- Your range of motion will be increased by regular stretching movements.
- Stretching Exercises provides a more active life.
- Stretching reduces muscle soreness, provides faster muscle recovery.
When Should You do a Stretching Exercise?
Allow me to say it again. Stretching Exercises will improve your overall health, appearance, and flexibility.
You need to warm up your body with low intensity on treadmills, elliptical bikes and stretch the muscles that are used. If you have enough time during your workout, you must try doing cardio exercises for at least 15 minutes with high intensity.
Then you should step into cooling down your body at low intensity. A 5-10 min low-intensity work on cooldown must be completed.
Now that you have warmed up your body, you can now start stretching your body which includes every major muscle groups.
NOTE: You should keep a note that warm muscles stretch more easily than cold muscles. So before stretching always warm up your body.
The best thing you can do is to stretch every major muscle in your body for a minimum of 5-10 mins every day. I know it sounds very hard to follow a stretching routine for whole 30 days of a month. But if possible you can at least try to do it for 3-4 times per week. Stretching exercises for 5-10 mins 3-4 times a week is not a big thing if you put a little effort.
You can increase the rate of muscle recovery if you stretch for 5-10 minutes as you cool down. You can also do some stretching exercise before you go to bed. It will relax the muscles and help you in relaxing from the stressful day and give you a good sleep at night.
Have you ever thought of stretching between your regular lifting sets?
If not, you must highly prefer stretching between the lifting sets. Stretching between the lifting sets will keep your muscles flexible and loose.
Your muscles will be benefitted to a great extent as it will get some added rest and recovery between the sets when a stretching exercise is done.
If you are short of time than the best thing you can do is to have a short warm-up stretch of 5-8 minutes on an elliptical bike and then proceed to the usual workout. But to have better muscle growth and to feel the pump you must keep on stretching between the sets.
By the time you finish your workout, you will realize that you have stretched almost every major muscle group of the body without taking much additional time.
If you continue this method, you will soon be habituated of doing some stretching exercise between the sets everytime. And in the long run, you will find that you are developing some good muscles of because of regular stretching between the sets.
How Should You Do a Stretching Exercise?
Remember stretching and warming up are two different things.
You can warm yourself up by bouncing, jogging, running or cycling but stretching does not include all these. Stretching must be gentle, slow and controlled. It will benefit you more. This type of slow stretching is called Static Stretching.
Static Stretching is highly recommended for all the muscle groups.
Tip: Always stretch the muscle groups which are opposite to each other. For example Biceps and Triceps, Hamstrings and Quads, Abs and Lower Back. Stretching only one major muscle group can create muscular imbalances which will harm the flexibility of the body.
You should feel good while doing a stretching exercise.
Bouncing or running looks effective but it can cause the muscles to flex as a reflex to the bounce. It will be better if you start stretching so as not to injure any muscle fibers.
It’s not uncommon to take 30-60 seconds to ease to the point of your stretch. Experts refer this maximum point as the “Pain Edge”. Once you reach this point, you should try to hold the stretch a little less than the point of feeling pain.
That point is your stretch zone. This is where you should try to hold the stretch and working up to holding it for 2 minutes.
Your breathing must be soft and consistent in a normal rhythm during the hold.
Relax and move on the next movement and over the time you’ll be able to stretch more without feeling uncomfortable.
So finally we know what is a Stretching Exercise and what are the benefits that it provides. If you are still questioning yourself about starting your own stretching routine that you must read this quick recap about Stretching.
Stretching Exercise is an important aspect of fitness as it improves the overall appearance and muscles of the body. If you are an athlete or a normal human being, you should seriously consider stretching 10-15 mins a day to have proper flexibility.
Stretching is for everyone who is active or inactive during the whole day. Men and women, for professionals and non-professionals. Athletes and non-athletes should also try stretching. For kids and for adults. Basically, the benefit of stretching is not limited to certain people. It is almost as important to anyone as air and water.