Contrary to popular opinion, stretching is not just for athletes. The importance of stretching on a daily basis applies to both young and old, regardless of career and status.
Dr. Joseph Alleva of NorthShore University Health System said this…
“Stretching is a very important part of improving flexibility to avoid injury in whatever particular activity you are engaging in.”
By the term flexibility, that means the range of movements that you can perform.
Hence, when your muscles are short and tight, you will not be able to exert your maximum potential in a particular activity. That is when you expose your self to various risks like muscle injuries and joint pains.
Three major categories of stretching:
- Static stretching – Remain in a comfortable stretch position for 20 to 30 seconds. To be done slowly and steadily. Known to improve overall flexibility.
- Ballistic stretching – A forceful stretching of the tendons and muscles. Includes jerky, bouncing movements that aims to prepare the muscles for intense activities.
- Dynamic stretching – Mimics the movements in an activity, and aims to increase blood circulation and to warm up the muscles.
Stretching is important for a fitness program to become effective. It also enables you to perform better in your day-to-day activities whether at home, work, and anywhere else.
Apart from flexibility, it can also boost your muscle strength and lower stress.
The Right Way to Stretch
How do you know when you are doing it properly? To answer this, Dr. Alleva said, “While you’re stretching, let pain dictate what you can and cannot do. Let that be your guide.”
He cannot emphasize it any better. Your body has limitations, and stretching it beyond its capacity can do you more harm than good.
And before performing a stretch, do something light to prepare your muscles. You can walk in place or climb up and down the stairs while maintaining proper posture and breathing.
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