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StretchingBuilding muscle and attaining aerobic fitness is just not enough. You should also consider flexibility. Stretching can be effective. You may believe that stretching is exclusively done by runners or gymnasts. However, we must all stretch to maintain our mobility and independence. "A lot of individuals don't realize that stretching should be done daily," says David Nolan, a physical therapist at the Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.

There are numerous sorts of stretching techniques. According to Sara Lindberg of Healthline, these include dynamic, static, ballistic, Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF), passive, and active stretching. Static and dynamic stretches are the two most common types of stretches. Static stretches entail holding a stretch in a comfortable position for a set amount of time, usually 10 to 30 seconds. This type of stretching is very good after a workout. Dynamic stretches, on the other hand, are dynamic movements that extend your muscles but do not hold the stretch in the final position. These stretches are typically performed before exercise to prepare your muscles for movement.

Sara Lindberg further said that stretching daily can help you develop your flexibility, which is important for your general health. Improved flexibility can help you not only accomplish regular tasks more easily but can also help postpone the loss of mobility that comes with aging. You have more mobility when you can move a joint across its full range of motion. Regular stretching might help you enhance your range of motion. According to a study by Jules Opplert and his colleagues, performing dynamic stretches before physical activities can assist you in preparing your muscles for exercise. It may also aid in the improvement of your sports or workout performance.

Stretching regularly might help your circulation. Improved circulation boosts blood flow to your muscles, which can lessen muscular discomfort and shorten recovery time (also known as delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMS).  Muscle imbalances are very prevalent, and they can lead to a bad posture. A combination of strengthening and stretching certain muscle groups helps alleviate musculoskeletal discomfort and promote appropriate alignment.

A reduction in range of motion can be caused by tight muscles. You're more likely to strain your back muscles when this happens. Stretching the muscles can aid in the healing of a back problem. Your muscles are likely to tense while you're stressed. This is because physical and emotional stress causes your muscles to stiffen up. Concentrate on your neck, shoulders, and upper back, as these are the areas of your body where you tend to store stress.

How do you get started with a stretching routine? Take it slowly if you're new to a regular stretching routine. Your body, like any other sort of physical activity, takes time to adjust to the stretches you're doing. You must also have a strong understanding of good form and technique. You risk getting hurt if you don't. You can stretch at any time of day. Before your activities on days you exercise, aim for 5 to 10 minutes of dynamic stretching. After your workout, stretch for another 5 to 10 minutes with static or PNF stretching.

A daily stretching program can help everyone, whether they are new to training or seasoned athletes. You may enhance your range of motion, improve your posture, and relax your mind by integrating 5 to 10 minutes of dynamic and static stretches into your routine.

PNFP-ZDS Marie Claire A. Gaas

References:

Harvard Medical School. The importance of stretching. Retrieved November 11, 2021, from the Harvard Medical School website: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-importance-of-stretching [Last updated: September 25, 2019]

Lindberg, S., & Bubnis, D. (2018). Stretching: 9 Benefits, Plus Safety Tips and How to Start. Retrieved November 11, 2021, from the Healthline website: https://www.healthline.com/health/benefits-of-stretching [Last updated: June 18, 2018]

Opplert, J., & Babault, N. (2018). Acute Effects of Dynamic Stretching on Muscle Flexibility and Performance: An Analysis of the Current Literature. Retrieved November 11, 2021, from the PubMed website: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29063454/ [Date published: February 2018]