It’s essential that you need to relax and loosen up the muscles in your body as often as possible. Although the majority of exercise programs offers a variety of fitness benefits, such as, strength training, improved cardio, or increased endurance, most won’t bother to do proper stretching techniques.
What stretching does is it trains your muscles to be a lot more flexible and limber. Stretching is also important when it comes to one’s freedom of painless movement, which includes the range of motion allowed in the major joints.
Stretching promotes mobility in the muscles, which is the fully extended length of the muscle fibers. This because our connecting tissues, which includes the ligaments and tendons, are usually not elastic enough.
The muscles which remain short and tight will restrict the natural range of motion, known as ROM. This in turn can result in unwanted muscle tears, muscle pulls, and stress related injuries.
These injuries can be from sport activities, or because of unexpected injury from common everyday motion. Having short muscles will limit the power and the overall performance of athletes who participate in activities such as: tennis, golf, or jogging, etc.
Experiencing Tightness In The Muscles
Eventually, as one ages, muscle tightness will also cause pain by it pinching directly into the joints. This pain is then avoided by those affected, who may begin walking with a limp, for instance, which avoids placing stress on the painful joint, that will further restrict the flexibility and the range of motion of the affected area.
The most common reason when it comes to muscle tightness is overuse, aging, or trauma, along with a variety of other issues which can affect your posture. If there’s tightness in the chest muscles, that can cause the classic humpback posture.
When there’s tightness in the hips, which is often experienced by the elderly, can contribute to that forward leaning posture. If you happen to experience tight muscles in the knee or ankle area, then you’ll most likely begin to shuffle your walk a bit.
So you need to increase the flexibility in these areas by stretching out your muscles on a regular basis, slightly more than their usual resting lengths. There are studies which support that initially stretching anywhere from 3 to 7 days per week will immensely improve your flexibility.
Help From The Professionals
If you have any old injuries or surgeries which are giving you difficulty, and as a result have internal or external scars, it’s then recommended that you seek the services of a qualified physiotherapist, osteopath, or a massage therapist.
What they’re able to do is free up the damaged tissues from the muscles or the connective tissues. After you receive this therapy, then the stretching should be more effective.
Paying More Attention When Stretching
Keep in mind that some muscles may need a bit more work than others will, or one side of the body may differ from the other. So you need to focus on which areas that you feel needs additional stretching.
Keep in mind that the type of stretches that you’re accustomed to doing are usually the areas which don’t really need that much attention. So getting initial consultation with a physiotherapist is important to get you started off properly.
The Proper Methods Of Stretching
Some of the older methods of stretching, which involves bouncing up and down, or stretching improperly with bad posture, can potentially cause further damage. When you do stretch, you should be feeling a comfortable firm tightness directly in the center of the muscle in question.
If there’s any discomfort where the muscle bones attach, that may indicate you’re pushing yourself too hard, causing too much unneeded pressure on the tendons which are non-elastic. Realize that when improving your flexibility, it’s always a work in process, so relax as much as possible and breathe.
A Few Basic Muscle Stretches
• Lower Back And Hips – Once lying on your back, cross one foot directly over the opposite knee and then pull the knee that’s bent towards the opposite shoulder as far as you can. This will ease those pinches which can occur in the lower back or hip which are often thought as inflammation of the sciatic nerve
• Stretching Those Hamstrings – Lying on your back, stretch your legs completely out, then lift one leg up with your foot slightly flexed, do so as high as you possibly can. Hold it up for up to 30 seconds. Switch to the other leg and do the same. This is an excellent method for loosening up the muscles which are located at the back of your thighs.
If you initially find this too difficult or painful, then use a belt or a skipping rope and place it directly under the instep of your foot. Then hold the ends of the strap using both hands, pulling the leg up as high as comfortably possible, and hold for up to 30 seconds. Make sure that you keep your shoulders as relaxed as possible, and then repeat on the other leg.
• Quad And Front Hip Pulls – Begin by lying on your stomach with one of your forearms beneath your forehead. Grab your other ankle, shoe, sock, or pant leg, whatever you can, and then pull your heel directly towards your buttock while pushing the hip down towards the floor.
What this does is it opens up the front of the hips while stretching the quadriceps muscles which are located at the front of your thighs.
• Upper Back And Shoulders – Stand up straight, as tall as possible, with your hands interlaced and placed behind your lower back. Make sure that your eyes are looking up, and then pull your arms down.
• Stretching The Chest Muscles – Stand up straight facing a corner, place both of your arms at 90 degrees on either wall, and then lean forward towards the corner.
Another option is using a stability ball or a bench at the gym, lie on your back and then allow your arms to hang out with your palms up.
These stretching techniques are just a few of the basics. There are a lot of other useful stretching techniques depending on your specific needs and hurts. What regular stretching does is it prevents soreness and potential injury, while improving your performance, stimulates blood flow, and promotes flexibility.