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The Benefits of Stretching

By Batista Gremaud


Stretching is like any other exercise; it must be done correctly and at the right time to be effective and avoid injury. In its most basic form, stretching is natural and instinctive, such as after a good night's sleep or prolonged sitting.



Stretching Promotes Overall Wellness


Stretching is an invaluable tool for promoting overall health and wellness. Unfortunately, many overlook its benefits, but regular stretching has valuable physical and mental benefits. For example, it helps to enhance flexibility and range of motion, reduce muscular tension, improve posture, increase blood flow to muscles, boost energy, and relieve stress.


Stretching can also lower the risk of injury by improving your body's ability to move and resist stresses and helping to establish better ground contact when performing exercises or other physical activities. Regular stretching also improves balance and stability, along with having a positive effect on joint health and mobility.


There are four types of stretching modalities for therapeutic and physical fitness.


1. Static Stretching: Static stretching involves stretching a muscle to its furthest point and holding it for 15-30 seconds. This type of stretching helps lengthen the muscles gradually over time and increases flexibility. Static stretching is valuable after exercising, as it helps to reduce muscle tension and fatigue.


2. Dynamic Stretching: Dynamic stretching involves active movements and range of motion drills that help to warm the body up and increase flexibility, power, and strength. This type of stretching helps to increase the elasticity of your muscles, which prepares them for physical activity.


3. Ballistic Stretching: Involves quick, bouncy movements to stretch a muscle. This type of stretching improves agility and power and reduces muscle tightness while improving flexibility.

4. Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF): PNF stretching is a type of stretching in which an individual uses resistance to the stretching movement to facilitate a deeper stretch and range of motion. This type of stretching is very effective for increasing muscle strength and flexibility in athletes, as it targets specific muscles.

 

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CAUTION


Stretching the wrong way, at the wrong time, or overextending a muscle potentially leads to severe injuries, including muscle strains and tears, ligament sprains, tendonitis, and hernias.

Repeatedly stretching during an intense workout or stretching cold muscles that haven't been adequately warmed up increases the risk of these injuries, reduces performance, and can cause long-term problems such as poor posture and restricted movement.

Additionally, it can cause nerve damage, such as when compressing or stretching the nerve, for example, in a forward fold.


Injury Prevention Tips


1. Know your limits - Not everyone can stretch to the same degree, so don't compare yourself to anyone. Instead, know how far your body can comfortably go and respect its limitations.


2. Stay focused - Stay focused while stretching, and remember to concentrate on your stretch and breathing.

3. Start gradually - Don't push your body too far or too fast. Instead, start with gentle stretching that slowly works towards a more intense stretch.


4. Stretch both sides - Make sure you're stretching both sides of your body equally. If you don't, you can throw off your muscle balance and lead to potential injuries.

5. Listen to your body - If you feel pain while stretching, it is important to stop and assess your technique. Identify what possibly caused the pain and if you need to adjust your form. Pain is a warning sign from your body, and it is vital to listen to it.


6. Ensure you are adequately warmed up - This means doing light physical activity such as walking or jogging for 5-10 minutes before stretching.


7. Be patient with yourself - Stretching takes time and consistency. For the best results, try to stretch for 10-15 minutes 3-4 times per week



The difference between stretching and warming up


Stretching and warming up are two distinct activities. Stretching lengthens the muscles and increases their flexibility; it should be done when the body is relaxed and warmed up. Warming up is preparing the body for exercise. It raises the temperature of the muscles and increases circulation to them. Warming up helps to reduce the risk of injuries and improves performance.


Stretching is essential to exercise and can help maintain flexibility, reduce muscle soreness, and prevent injury. First, however, it's necessary to learn the correct technique and ensure you stretch correctly and at the right time.


If you need help with the proper technique, it's best to consult with a qualified health professional.

Call 424-287-7181 DrFitnessUSA.com

 

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Batista Gremaud is the CEO and president of Dr Fitness International, an International Body Designer, Strength Training Expert, No1 Best Selling author of Feminine Body Design, Empowering Fitness For A Pain-Free Life, co-creator of the Feminine Body Design online strength training mentoring system, co-host of the Esoteric Principles of Bodybuilding, Recipient of the most outstanding fitness program 2019 by The Winners Circle, Mastermind at Sea. and producer of the Dr Fitness USA’s THE SHOW. https://www.DrFitnessUSA.com

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