Stretching can often be overlooked but there are numerous benefits to regular stretching, either as part of a workout or a break from your desk. Some of the benefits include:
Improved flexibility, helping you to perform everyday activities with relative ease and helping to delay the reduced mobility that occurs with aging.
Increased range of motion which helps you target the correct muscles, preventing unnecessary strain and injury during workouts.
Improved circulation increases blood flow to your muscles which can shorten your recovery time and reduce muscle soreness (also known as delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMS).
Improved posture is achieved through stretching particular muscle groups which can reduce musculoskeletal pain and encourage proper alignment.
Reduced stress – your muscles tend to tighten in response to physical and emotional stress. Focus on areas of your body where you tend to hold your stress such as your neck, shoulders and upper back and you may notice a mental benefit as well as physical.
Types of stretching
1. Dynamic stretches are active movements that cause your muscles to stretch but the stretch is not held in the final position. These stretches are usually done before exercise to get your muscles ready for movement.
2. Static stretches involve holding a stretch in a comfortable position typically between 10-30 seconds and avoid bouncing. This form of stretching is most beneficial after you exercise.
If you are new to a regular stretching routine, please take it slow. Just like other forms of physical activity, your body needs time to get used to the stretches you’re performing.
When stretching, focus on the major areas of your body that help with mobility such as your calves, hamstrings, hip flexors, and quadriceps. For upper-body relief, try moves that stretch the shoulders, neck, and lower back.
It is advised that you make stretching part of your daily routine whether it is included alongside an exercise or not. This is because it is important to keep your muscles, joints and posture both healthy and mobile.
The Health Club