The Basics of Stretching

The Basics of Stretching

Stretching. We all should be doing it yet few of us do. The experts say most people tend to skip that part of their workout, but it makes a huge difference to how our bodies respond to exercise. Stretching warms your muscles making them looser.

Common beliefs about stretching

1. The best time to stretch is after exercise when your muscles are warm?

Well, that is both true and false. It is safer to stretch a warm muscle, and warm muscles are more relaxed and have a greater range of motion. However, walking briskly or jogging for five minutes is a sufficient warm-up for stretching. Ideally, you’ll stretch a few minutes into and after your workout.

2. There’s only one right way to stretch?

False. There are many ways to stretch. Some common ones are mentioned below.

  • Static stretching – stretch a specific muscle until you feel the tension and then hold the position for 15 to 60 seconds. This is considered the safest way to stretch as it’s done gently. This allows the muscles and connective tissue time to reset the stretch reflex.
  • Active isolated (AI) stretching – Stretch a specific muscle until you feel tension, and then hold the position for just one or two seconds. Often you must use a rope or your hands to get a muscle to its stretching point. Because you don’t force the muscle to stay contracted, the muscle that’s being worked actually stays relaxed. However, critics warn of the risk of overstretching, especially if using a rope.
  • Ballistic or dynamic stretching – move slowly into a stretched position, and then bounce once you get there. This is what many people learned in gym class, but now most experts agree this method is dangerous because it puts too much pressure on the muscle and connective tissue.

3. Stretching should be uncomfortable?

False. If stretching is painful then you’ve gone too far. Instead, move into a stretch and stop when you feel the tension. Breathe deeply while you hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds. Then relax, and repeat the stretch, trying to move a little bit further into it during the second stretch.

4. You should hold a stretch for at least 15 seconds?

True. Most experts agree that holding a stretch for 15 to 30 seconds is sufficient.

Benefits of Stretching

Performing regular stretches will loosen muscles and increase your range of motion. These effects can lower the risk of injuries such as sprains, which affect ligaments, or strains, which affect muscles or tendons.

The benefits of stretching can also reduce pain from chronic conditions, such as osteoarthritis and lower back pain.

Should any stretching cause discomfort, it is important to stop immediately. Stretching should be done within the range of your ability and even the gentlest of stretches can have benefits.

Chiro & Sports Med

Our chiropractors at Chiro & Sports Med are committed to providing chiropractic solutions to address your unique needs, whether you are experiencing an irritated nerve, bulging disc, back painneck pain, knee pain, headaches, or even muscular tightness and tension. You may be also searching for pain relief after an accident or experiencing an injury.  Our mission is to help reduce or eliminate pain and to prevent future problems and injury. Above all, we are here to improve your quality of life, well-being, and ability to live an active healthy lifestyle.

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