Stretching is important, but it is often one of the first things to go when time is limited. Most people, unfortunately, do not stretch enough. You can improve your flexibility and reduce your risk of injury by committing to stretching every day. This post will go over some fundamental stretches that are ideal for everyday use.
We must all stretch to maintain our mobility and independence. “Many people are unaware that stretching must be done on a regular basis. It should be done every day “According to David Nolan, a physical therapist at the Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.
Why Stretching is Important
Stretching keeps the muscles flexible, strong, and healthy, which is necessary for maintaining joint range of motion. Muscles shorten and become tight without it. Then, when you try and activate the muscles, they become weak and incapable of fully extending. As a result, you are more likely to experience joint pain, strains, and muscle damage.
Sitting in a chair all day, for example, causes tight hamstrings in the back of the thigh. This can make it difficult to fully extend your leg or straighten your knee, preventing you from walking. Similarly, when tight muscles are suddenly called upon for a strenuous activity that stretches them, such as playing tennis, they may be damaged because of the sudden stretching. Injured muscles may be unable to support the joints, resulting in joint injury.
Stretching on a regular basis keeps muscles long, lean, and flexible, which means that exertion “won’t put too much force on the muscle itself,” according to Nolan. Healthy muscles also aid in the prevention of falls in people who have balance issues.
Where to Begin?
With so many muscles in your body, the idea of stretching every day may seem daunting. But, according to Nolan, you don’t have to stretch every muscle in your body. “The areas critical for mobility are in your lower extremities: calves, hamstrings, pelvic hip flexors, and quadriceps in front of the thigh.” It is also beneficial to stretch your shoulders, neck, and lower back. Strive for daily stretches or at least three or four times per week.
The cumulative benefits of Stretching
Stretching once today will not provide you with excellent flexibility. You must do it gradually and remain committed to the process. “You may have had tight muscles for months, so you won’t be perfectly flexible after one or two sessions,” says physical therapist David Nolan of Massachusetts General Hospital. “It takes weeks to months to become flexible, and you’ll have to keep working on it to keep it.”
A hamstring stretch will keep your thigh muscles flexible in the back. Sit on the floor with your legs outstretched in front of you. Slide your hands down your legs until a burning sensation is felt. Hold for 30 seconds before returning to a sitting position.
Stretching was once thought to be necessary to warm up the muscles and prepare them for activity. However, growing evidence suggests that stretching muscles before they’ve warmed up can be harmful. “When everything is cold, the fibers aren’t ready and could be damaged. If you exercise first, you will increase blood flow to the area, making the tissue more pliable and adaptable “Nolan says Warming up the muscles before stretching only takes five to ten minutes of light activity, such as a quick walk. Stretching can also be done after an aerobic or weight-training workout.
Maintain a stretch for 30 seconds. Do not bounce, as this can result in injury. During a stretch, you should feel tension but not pain. If you do, the tissue may be injured or damaged. Stop stretching that muscle and consult your physician.