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Fitness and Stretching is Good for You...
Working as a Physical Therapist, I constantly educate patients on stretching tips, how to make their stretching most effective. Here are a few tips to implement when you are participating in fitness and stretching.
What is Flexibility?
Flexibility is the ability to move a joint or multiple joints smoothly and easily through an unrestricted, pain free range. It is a key factor in the prevention of injury or re-injury of the musculoskeletal system (muscles and bones). Stretching on a regular basis can improve one’s flexibility.
Fitness and Stretching Tips
Before stretching, perform a warm-up activity, i.e. walking or slow jogging.
Failing to warm up increases the risk of muscle strains while stretching. In fact, studies show that people who stretch without proper warm-up have a higher rate of injury than those who don’t stretch at all.
Stretch SLOWLY and hold without bouncing.
Bouncing during stretching can cause greater damage to the muscle being stretched, and can cause increased soreness when compared to holding a static stretch.
Stretch to the point where tension is first felt, NOT PAIN.
If you feel pain, reduce the pressure you are applying. If the pain persists, discontinue the stretch. Remember that everyone is different with different amounts of normal flexibility and a different potential for developing further flexibility.
Do NOT hold your breath while stretching - take slow, deep breaths.
Most people are told not to hold their breath during exercise, but don’t realize why. This is because your blood pressure increases when holding your breath.
Hold each stretch for 15-30 seconds.
Repeat 2-3 times after resting a few seconds. To improve flexibility the stretches should be done 2-3 times/day everyday. It often takes up to 6-8 weeks before significant improvement is seen. To maintain flexibility, it takes only 3-4 stretching sessions/week.
It is important to stretch before and after a hard workout or work day.
Most sports and work activities tend to shorten muscles, so stretching afterwards will help regain the improvements made before working out.Stretching tired muscles also can decrease the soreness you may feel the day after a hard workout or work day.
Getting Started With A Stretching Program
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