Stretching is a form of physical exercise in which a specific muscle or tendon (or muscle group) is deliberately flexed or stretched in order to improve the muscle's felt elasticity and achieve comfortable muscle tone. The result is a feeling of increased muscle control, flexibility, and range of motion
This is a challenging time for us all, but we can take advantage. One way is to look at our physical activity levels, and improve our fitness, exercise, and overall health.
There are a lot more joggers out in the parks and streets, and even the Government recognise the significant benefits of getting an hour's outdoor exercise (which can be walking, cycling, jogging, and even high intensity exercise). We all need to try and find a way to get slightly breathless from exercise, or even build up a sweat - which is not important, but useful.
We must not forget the importance of stretching. It isn't a must you stretch before exercise, but it can help your body to become more pliable, warm up the muscles and help decrease the chance of injuries.
What are other benefits?
Can help relieve Stress
Stretching soon after waking up can help jump start the mind and body, loosening tight muscles, and this helps the muscles relax and increase blood flow. It also encourages the release of endorphins, providing a sense of calm and euphoria. It has been shown that stretching before bed can even provide you a more comfortable sleeping experience.
Stretching can help with posture by lengthening tight muscles that pull areas of your body away from their intended position and keeping your muscles loose.
By stretching the muscles of the lower back, chest and shoulders, you can keep the spine in better alignment and improve overall posture by relieving aches and pains. With reduced pain, there is a reduced desire to hunch or slouch.
Stretching loosens your muscles and tendons which relieves muscle fatigue and increases blood flow. The longer you exercise the more energy you burn, typically causing one to grow fatigued. With stretching you can delay the onset of muscles fatigue by ensuring oxygen is efficiently flowing through your blood, thereby increasing your endurance.
Increase Blood Flow
Not only will stretching help reduce post-workout soreness and shorted recovery time, it will improve overall health.
Greater blood circulation helps promote cell growth and organ function. The heart rate will also lower since it does not have to work as hard and blood pressure will become more even and consistent.
Raise Energy Levels
It might help to get out of your seat and do a few good stretches for a boost of energy, helping your mind and body be more alert.
Muscles tighten when we get tired and that makes us feel even more lethargic. So you are encouraged to stand up and do some stretches. It will help you to quickly and efficiently revitalize your energy levels.
If your muscles are already contracted because you have not stretched, then they will be less effective during exercise.
Regular stretching will relax all of your muscles and therefore enable them to be more available for exercise.
Different kinds of stretching that Healthy Minds, Healthy Bods has promoted in its classes through our Fully Qualified Personal Trainer, Dean.
We normally start with Dynamic Stretching. They are active movement, are meant to help get the body moving and warmed up, and are not help for any length of time.
We would normally finish with Static stretching where they are held for a length of time.There are different opinions of how long people should hold them, but the general consensus is a minimum of 10 seconds and, depending on how tight muscles could be, they could be held for longer.
It is advised to warm up before exercise if you have been idle beforehand. However, if you have walked to a session it is not as important.
We hope this has been interesting. Do allow yourself to research more if you would like.