Stretching is one of those pesky things that we know we must do before we start and when we end an exercise session, but we just don’t do it. Well, now is the time to start.
Stretching has so many benefits for the body, especially when it comes to exercise. Here’s just some reasons why you need to make sure that you’re incorporating stretching in to your work out routine – even if you don’t feel like it.
To help keep you flexible.
If you want to increase your flexibility and to avoid injuries, stretch before and after workout. Almost everyone knows that stretching before workout prevents injuries during the exercises, but only few people know that stretching after workout, when muscles are still warm, can increase flexibility.
Hold that stretch.
Hold your stretching position for more than 60 seconds to increase flexibility. While holding your position for 20 seconds is enough for warm ups, holding each position for at least 60 seconds will develop the body’s flexibility.
Do not go into a stretching position then immediately return to the relaxed position, and do it repeatedly.
This is more appropriately termed as bouncing while in a position. When stretching, hold that position for several seconds, and then slowly relax. You may do this exercise repeatedly this way. Bouncing or forcing yourself into a position during stretching can strain or damage some joints or muscles.
Think about all your muscles.
Make sure that you have stretched or warmed up all muscle groups. For some people, even if they have strong bodies, they tend to neglect the neck when working out or stretching. Stretching the neck muscles can be as simple as placing the palm of your hand against the front of the head and pushing it. Then, do the same to the sides and the back of the head.
Do it often.
Stretch regularly to continually increase your range of movements and your level of flexibility and strength.
Think about yourself.
Learn to rest.
Rest in between sets and stations to make sure that the body has enough time to recover its energy. Also, it is advisable that you don’t work the same muscle groups consecutively for two days. The muscles grow during the period when you rest and not when you are working out.
And when it comes to stretching then remember that timing is everything:
Holding individual stretches for longer than 60 seconds each actually can briefly inhibit your ability to generate power.
Instead, if you aim for around 30 seconds per stretch—making sure to target each major muscle group—you’ll be less prone to injury.