Stretching is the unsung hero when it comes to fitness
Stretching is critical towards achieving peak fitness condition. It is ideal to stretch before and after your workouts as you are more prone to injury if you do not stretch before exercise. Stretching prior to exercise warms up your body, making it less prone to accidents and injuries. Stretching following exercise relieves muscle tightness, improves flexibility and cools down the body.
Many people opt out of stretching but it is an important part of any exercise with many benefits:
The Benefits of Stretching
o Increased flexibility and joint range of motion
o Improved circulation
o Better posture
o Reduces stress
o Enhanced coordination
o Lengthens your muscles
o Increases blood flow
o Provides a sense of peace and well-being
Proper Stretching Techniques
o Warm up first. When muscles are cold, the risk of pulled muscles is increased. Do a cardio exercise for at least five minutes prior to activity.
o Hold each stretch for a minimum of 30 seconds. It takes time to lengthen tissues safely. Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds.
o Don’t bounce. If you bounce as you stretch it can cause small tears (microtears) in the muscle.
o Relax and don’t forget to breathe
o Stretch both sides
o Stretch before and after activity