There is tons of research proving the health benefits of stretching. The historical evidence indicates that humans have been stretching for ages, particularly warriors who would stretch before a fight. Regular stretching can aid in reducing stress and improving body discomfort, flexibility, and posture.
The article we are writing about discusses the advantages of health benefits of stretching. We also examine the dangers of stretching too much and offer tips to stretch safely and effectively.
I. WHY STRETCHING IS IMPORTANT
Keeping muscles flexible, strong, and healthy is one of many health benefits of stretching. We require this flexibility to maintain an optimum range of motion for joints. If we do not stretch, our muscles shrink and tighten. Moreover, when you call upon your muscles for exercise, they are weak and inflexible. Exercise without stretching puts you at risk of strains, joint pain, and muscle injury.
For instance, sitting in a chair for the entire day causes tight hamstrings in your thigh’s back. Tight hamstrings can make it difficult to extend your leg or straighten your knee entirely and hinder your walking ability.
Additionally, when tight muscles are forced to perform strenuous exercise that stretches their muscles, such as in tennis, the muscles can get injured due to being stretched. The injured muscles may not be sufficient to support the joints, leading to joint injuries.
Regular stretching makes muscles robust, lean, and flexible. As a result, any exertion will not put too much force on the muscle. Strong muscles can also aid people with balance issues in staying safe from falling.
II. 9 HEALTH BENEFITS OF STRETCHING
2.1. Expands the range of motion
Being capable of moving a joint in its full range of motion allows you greater flexibility. Regular stretching will increase flexibility.
A trusted source study has shown that dynamic and static stretching can effectively expand the range of motion. However, proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF)-type stretching, in which you stretch muscles to their limits, could be more effective for quick gains.
2.2. Increases blood flow to muscles
Doing stretches on a routine can improve the circulation of your trusted Source. The improved circulation improves the flow of blood to your muscles, which may speed up the recovery time and decrease the muscle soreness (also called delayed onset muscular soreness (also known as DOMS).
2.3. Increases flexibility
Regular stretching can improve your body’s flexibility and is essential to your overall well-being. In addition, increased flexibility can enable you to carry out everyday activities more comfortably. It could aid in preventing the decline in mobility that comes with aging.
2.4. Enhances your performance during sports and other physical activities.
Doing dynamic stretching before engaging in physical activities has been proven to train your muscles for exercise. It can also improve your performance during any sport or exercise.
2.5. Improves your posture
The common problem with muscle imbalances is that they can result in poor posture. One study showed that an effective combination of strength and stretching specific muscle groups could ease muscle pain and improve alignment. This combination could help improve your posture.
2.6. Helps you relax your mind
Engaging in a regular program of stretching can not only improve your flexibility but will also help to calm your mind. While stretching, you should focus on mindfulness and exercises for meditation that will give your mind a break.
2.7. Helps to prevent and heal back discomfort
The tightness of your muscles can cause the limitation of flexibility. In this case, it increases the chance of straining your back muscles. Stretching can aid in healing an injury to your back by stretching your muscles.
Regular stretching will also prevent back discomfort by strengthening the muscles in your back and reducing the risk of muscle strain.
2.8. Can be excellent to help relieve stress
If you are feeling stressed, your muscles will likely tense. The reason is that your muscles tend to tighten due to emotional and physical stress. Concentrate on the areas of your body that usually feel tension, like your shoulders, neck, and upper back.
2.9. Reduces tension headaches
Stress and tension headaches can affect your everyday life. Alongside a healthy diet, adequate fluid intake and ample rest, stretching could assist in relieving the tension that you experience from headaches.
III. THE CUMULATIVE EFFECT OF STRETCHING
It is going to provide you with extra flexibility. You will have to practice it gradually and remain dedicated to the process. “It may have taken you many months to get tight muscles, so you are not going to be perfectly flexible after one or two sessions,” says physical Therapist David Nolan of Massachusetts General Hospital. “It takes weeks to months to get flexible, and you will have to continue working on it to maintain it.”
Hamstring stretching can keep the muscles at the back of the thigh limbs flexible. You can sit on the floor with your legs straight in front of you. Move your hands along your legs till you get the sensation of burning. Do this for 30 seconds before slowly returning to the sitting position.
IV. HOW TO START A STRETCHING ROUTINE
With your body packed with muscles, stretching every day could be daunting. However, we suggest you do not need to work every muscle you have. The muscles essential for mobility are located in the lower extremities of your body: your hamstrings, calves, hip flexors, the pelvis and quadriceps on the front of your thigh.
Stretching your neck, shoulders, and lower back is equally advantageous. Make it a point to stretch every day at least three to four times per week.
Find a PT (your local YMCA is a great starting point) who can evaluate the strength in your muscles and create an exercise program suited to your requirements. If you are suffering from chronic illnesses such as Parkinson’s disease, or arthritis, it is essential to discuss a new stretching regimen with your doctor before starting.
If you are beginning the routine of stretching, begin slowly. Like other types of exercise, it takes time for your body to become accustomed to the stretching you are doing. Also, you need to have a firm understanding of proper technique and form. If you do not, you may be injured.
To get most of the health benefits of stretching, you can perform the workout routine at any time throughout the day. When you exercise:
- Try to do 5-10 minutes of stretching that is dynamic prior to the activity
- You can add another 5-10 minutes of PNF or static stretching following your workout.
If you do not feel like exercising, you should still plan 5-10 minutes to stretch. This exercise routine will help increase flexibility and decrease muscle strain and discomfort. Each stretch exercise should be performed for 30 seconds, and try to avoid bounces.
Stretch after every training session or sport or every day after your muscles get warmed up. Try this 5-minute daily stretching routine to start your journey.
V. RISKS AND SAFETY TIPS (BESIDES THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF STRETCHING)
Stretching may not always be safe.
- If you suffer from an acute injury or are already present, do not perform any stretching unless recommended by your physician.
- If you are suffering from a long-lasting or persistent injury, think about speaking with an expert in sports medicine or a physical therapist to develop an exercise program appropriate for your specific needs.
- If you suffer from physical limitations that keep you from performing the stretching exercise, talk to your physician for alternatives which can improve your flexibility.
Before you begin, be sure to practice it safely and effectively to get all the health benefits of stretching. Although you can stretch at any time, a proper method is crucial. If you stretch incorrectly, it can cause more significant harm than benefit.
Make sure you follow these steps to keep stretching secure:
- Refrain from stretching your muscles during a warm-up. It could be dangerous to yourself if you stretch your cold muscles. Before stretching, you should warm up by gently walking, jogging, or cycling at a moderate pace for 5 to 10 minutes. It is even better to stretch after your workout if your muscles are warm.
- It is recommended to avoid stretching before the start of an intense activity, such as sprinting or track and field events. Certain studies suggest that stretching prior to an event can reduce performance. It has also been proven that stretching before the training section weakens the strength of the hamstring.
- Find the symmetry. Every person’s genes for flexibility differ. Instead of aiming for the same flexibility as an athlete or a gymnast, be sure to have an equal range of flexibility side-to-side (especially when you have a injury history). A lack of equal flexibility on both sides can cause injuries.
- Concentrate on principal muscles. Focus your stretching on the major muscle groups like those in your calves, thighs, lower back, hips, shoulders, and neck. It is essential to stretch on both sides.
- Stretch joints and muscles you use regularly during your exercise.
- Do not bounce. Stretch smoothly with no bounce. Bouncing around while you stretch could cause injury to your muscles and create tightness in your muscles.
- Make sure to hold your stretch. Relax usually, and keep each stretch around 30 seconds. You should hold your stretch for about 60 seconds in complex regions.
- Make stretches sport specific. A few studies suggest that it is beneficial to stretch that target the muscles you use for your particular sport or exercise. If you are playing soccer, for example, then stretch your hamstrings because you are more susceptible to strains on your hamstrings.
- Make sure you are stretching regularly. The process of stretching can take a long time. However, you can reap maximum benefits by doing it regularly, at least three times per week. A mere 5-10 minutes of stretching each time is beneficial.
- Include movement in your stretching. Simple movements, like those used in tai chi, Pilates and yoga, will aid in becoming more flexible with specific exercises. These types of workouts will also aid in reducing falls in older people.
Many people also incorporate foam rolling prior to exercises in conjunction with a vigorous warm-up.
VI. CONCLUSION HEALTHY BENEFIT OF STRECHING
We believe stretching is essential to warm muscles and prepare them for activities. Though, remember to warm up your muscles before stretching. It can be five to ten minutes of moderate activity, such as a short walk. It is also possible to stretch after your workout, even when it is either aerobic or weight-training.
Keep a stretch going for 30 minutes. Be careful not to bounce, as this could result in injuries. There will be a feeling of tension when you stretch, but you should not experience discomfort. If you feel pain, it might be damaged or an injury within the muscle.