Beginners Guide to Becoming More Flexible
Stretching is one of those exercises that comes at the worst times when exercising. During warm-up, you can’t wait to get into the calorie burning workouts and after, you’re too exhausted and fatigue has gotten the better of you to pay any attention to stretching. Most trainees never see the essence of stretching. After all, it does not burn a lot of calories.
But, being flexible and stretching out does have its fair share of benefits and some of which could save you significant pain. At Urban BodyFit, we start all workouts with a good stretch, let us explain the importance of stretching.
Why should you stretch?
The role of exercise to our bodies is very clear. While constant exercise is critical, modern lifestyle does not allow for that. The most that people can save for working out is an hour. During that hour, the limits of the muscles and the body is pushed and the physical stress grows.
After that hour, you go back to your normal routine which is more relaxed. As a result, without a good stretch, most of that physical stress is left packed in the muscles which disturbs the equilibrium. Stretching also helps the joints to move through their full motion which helps to reduce chances of injury.
When should you stretch?
There is no clear direction of when you should stretch. The truth is, each expert has his preferred periods of stretching. However, as a rule of thumb, the best approach to stretching and becoming more flexible is to start by a good warm-up followed by specific and dynamic stretches. It is best to focus these stretches on the areas that you will be focusing on during your workout.
After you have completed your workout, this is the best time to squeeze in your static stretches. It is not advisable to attempt such stretches when the body is cold. The results can be disastrous. That is why it is best to save them until you’re done with your routine and work on them when your body is warm.
Stretching is not only beneficial to your muscles but also mentally and if done regularly, you will notice improved flexibility in due time. It is also a good idea to have short stretches in the morning after you wake up and before going to bed. It helps to activate the muscles.
How far should you stretch?
When it comes to stretching, this is another touchy issue. While flexible people can really push the limits, those that are not might have a hard time. There are some stretches that can feel really uncomfortable. It is okay for a stretch to feel uncomfortable but not painful. It is important to stop stretching when you start feeling the pain.
How long should you hold a stretch?
30 seconds is more than enough for a basic static stretch. The timeline is enough for you to engage and relax the muscles that you have just worked. If you hold a stretch for a longer period of time, you risk an injury. But, if done in a subtle manner and probably, holding a stretch should help you reach your flexibility goals faster.
There are plenty of different exercises that you can use that will help you get more flexible. Yoga and Tai-chi are just but a few of them. However, even though stretching might seem relatively harmless, you need to exercise caution especially in the absence of a professional to avoid injury.
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