Stretching is a form or type of exercise in which tendons or body muscles are pulled or stretched. This pulling of muscles helps in improving muscle tone and muscle elasticity. It helps our body muscles ease with an elevation in consciousness, flexibility, self-control, and ease of moving. All the moving beings do it as is not only done by humans but also by animals. It is performed mainly after getting up from rest or after doing monotonous work for long hours. The increased flexibility of our body muscles is given the name of physical fitness.
There are mainly two types of stretches – dynamic stretches and static stretches. Stretching works wonders for pains, where the muscles are tensed and need to be relaxed.
The muscles are brought to their end range of movement in the static stretch, and the position is held with the help of external forces. This intense stretch helps to tighten up the muscles and may even weaken them. Static stretch requires the stretched position to be maintained for about thirty to forty seconds, and you need to repeat it twice or thrice.
Static stretches often limit the body’s ability to move quickly. You can use it after sports to reduce the risk of injury, but it may also show adverse effects if you use it before any activity to warm up. It may include some of these stretches, such as – hamstring stretch, posterior capsule stretch, quadriceps stretch, etc. It is not recommended before any athletic activity because the more significant the stretch duration, the more muscles will become drained.
A dynamic stretch is a motion for helping the body’s muscles to loosen and increase blood circulation. It should always be included before any physical activity as a part of the warm-up routine as it prepares the ligaments and body muscles for speed and motion. It does not come under a deep stretch, so there is no chance of isolation of any muscle groups.
Practicing this also increases the amount of oxygen content in our body as it increases blood circulation. It also involves muscle tightening and giving the joints their full mobility. With the increase in muscle temperature, muscle stiffness is also reduced. This type of stretching includes the following stretches – walking lunges, torso twists, leg swings, and so on.
Benefits of stretching
The range of motion of some joint or a group of joints is termed flexibility. Stretching helps in increasing the range of motion of muscles and bones, both for the short and long term. The short-term ones may result from the increasing tolerance of the nervous system and may disappear within a few days or weeks. But the long-term ones may include lengthening of the muscles and increasing the range of motion. But if you want to enjoy all these benefits, it is necessary to do the stretching daily.
Recruit Your Muscles Faster While Working Out
Sticking to a routine of stretching may give us an increase in the range of motion. Increasing muscle flexibility will be followed by increased strength and fitness. And this may even help you to perform a broader range of exercises while working out.
Increase Blood Circulation In Your Muscle
Performing stretching can help you to increase your blood circulation. Increased circulation also aids the better and faster recovery of the cells in our body, making us healthier than ever. Muscle soreness is also reduced by stretching.
Improve Your Posture And Forget Back Pains
Working for long hours or leading a sedentary lifestyle can lead us to acquire the wrong postures. But with the help of stretching, one can remove muscle imbalances and poor postures. The combination of strengthening and stretching particular groups of muscles can help in alignment and reduce muscular pains.
Decreased range of muscles can lead to a tightening of the muscles, which may be the main reason behind most muscular aches. Stretching can help heal the strained muscles in our body and reduce the risk of muscle strain in the nearer future.
Acts As A Stress Reliever And Helps To Decrease Headaches
Stretching is a great stress reliever. Experiencing stress can increase the chances of your muscles getting tensed. The muscles tend to tighten up for physical and emotional stress. It would be best to focus on your stressed body areas, such as your neck, shoulders, and upper back.
Stretching also helps to calm your mind to a great extent. Regularly stretching will not only help increase your flexibility, but it can also calm your mind. Focus on mindfulness and meditation exercises while stretching can give your mind a mental break.
Tension and stress headaches can make your everyday life more challenging. With proper diet, adequate hydration, and adequate rest, stretching can reduce tension and headaches.
One must make stretching an integral part of daily life to keep ourselves moving. Regularly doing the stretches will maximize the effects and decrease any injury’s chances and increase your muscles’ flexibility. But if you are suffering from some illness, consulting with a doctor is a must before trying out anything that can be harmful to your body. A physical therapist can always guide you in the best way to get the maximum out of your stretching regime.