Benefits of stretching exercises: Stretching is just as important as exercise, right? Does your exercise routine include stretching at all? Not so fast.
Stretching helps in increasing your range of motion and lower your risk of injury, among other benefits. Learn why stretching can be beneficial and the proper way to stretch.
What is Stretching?
Stretching is a type of physical exercise in which a particular muscle or tendon (or muscle group) is purposefully flexed or stretched in order to increase the muscle’s perceived elasticity and achieve a comfortable level of muscle tone. The outcome is a sense of increased muscle control, flexibility, and range of motion. Stretching is also used therapeutically to relieve cramps and to enhance function in daily activities by enhancing range of motion.
Is stretching beneficial for you?
The benefits of regular stretching are multiple. Stretching can help you become more flexible, which is a key component of fitness, as well as improve your posture, and reduce stress and body aches, among other things.
Read on to find out more about the benefits of stretching exercises and how to begin a stretching routine
Benefits of stretching exercises:
Stretching helps you to get more flexibility
Flexibility is important for your overall health and it can be improved with regular stretching. Increased flexibility cannot only make it easier for you to carry out daily tasks, but it can also delay the potential mobility decline associated with aging.
Enhances your level of physical activity
Dynamic stretches can help your muscles get ready for physical activity, according to research. Additionally, it might enhance how well you perform during an activity or athletic contest.
Stretching helps in increasing the RMO (Range of Motion)
Your range of motion is increased when a joint can move through its full range. You may be able to increase your range of motion by stretching frequently.
When it comes to an increasing range of motion, one study found that both static and dynamic stretching is helpful, though proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF)-style stretching, in which muscles are stretched to their absolute limit, may be more beneficial for quick results.
Helps in the healing and prevention of back pain
Tight muscles can cause a reduction in range of motion. When this happens, you increase your chances of straining your back muscles. Stretching the muscles can help heal an existing back injury.
Stretching helps in improving the body posture
It is common to have muscle imbalances, which can result in bad posture. According to one study, a combination of muscle group strengthening and stretching can lessen musculoskeletal pain and encourage proper alignment. Your posture might then get better as a result.
Stretching helps in increasing the flow of blood to your muscles
Performing stretches on a regular basis helps in improving your blood circulation. Your muscles receive more blood when your circulation is better, which can hasten recovery and lessen soreness.
Stretching exercises can help you to relax your mind
Regular stretching exercises not only help you become more flexible, but they can also help you relax your mind. Focus on mindfulness and meditation exercises while stretching to give your mind a mental break.
Reduces tension headaches.
Your day-to-day activities may be hampered by tension and stress headaches. Stretching, along with a healthy diet, adequate hydration, and plenty of rest, may help relieve headache tension.
Is excellent for stress relief.
When you are under stress, your muscles are likely to be tense. This is due to the fact that tension from both physical and emotional stress causes your muscles to tighten up when you do stretching then you have to pay special attention to your neck, shoulders, and upper back because these are areas of your body where you tend to hold your stress.
Types of Stretching Exercises
Types of stretching techniques, including:
Static stretching, the most popular kind of stretching, involves stretching the targeted muscle group to its fullest extent and holding that position for at least 30 seconds.
Static stretches are classified into two types:
Active: Added force is applied by the person for higher intensity
Passive: Added pressure is applied by means of an external force (e.g., partner or assistive device) to increase intensity.
Dynamic stretching requires the use of non-stop motion patterns that mimic the workout or sport to be performed. Generally speaking, the cause of dynamic stretching is to enhance flexibility for a given game or activity. An example of dynamic stretching is a sprinter taking long, exaggerated strides in preparation for a race.
This type of stretch is commonly used for athletic exercises and uses repetitive bouncing motions to stretch the targeted muscle group. While these bouncing movements often trigger the stretch reflex and can lead to an increased risk of injury, they can be performed safely if performed at low to high speeds and preceded by a static action.
Active Isolated Stretching (AIS)
This stretch technique lasts only two seconds at a time. It is repeated several times, each time exceeding the previous resistance point by a few degrees. Like a strength-training program, AIS is done for multiple sets with a specific number of reps.
PNF (Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation) Stretching
PNF is an abbreviation for Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation. PNF stretches can be done in a variety of ways, including hold-relax, contract-relax, and rhythmic initiation.
PNF may be entirely passive (in which case the therapist moves the limb through its range of motion) or active-assisted (in which case the athlete assists in the treatment). In this situation, it is necessary to perform an isometric contraction before stretching.
Stretching the structures of the nervous system is referred to as neural stretching. This is essential for injuries involving excessive neural tension, such as sciatica caused by tense muscles.
Examples can frequently be found in the pelvis, shoulder, or neck regions.
The upper limb tension test and the slump test are two examples of neural tension tests that have been modified into neural stretches.
Although initially, this may be as little as 3–4 seconds to prevent nerve damage, the limb is brought to the point of stretch and held there for no longer than 10 seconds.
Only a licensed therapist should supervise the use of this kind of stretching.
How to start a stretching regimen
If you are just starting out with regular stretching, go slowly. Your body needs some time to adjust to the stretches you are doing, just like it does with other types of exercise.
Additionally, you must have a firm grasp of proper form and technique. You run the risk of getting hurt if not. At any point during the day, you can stretch. When you work out:
- Before the activity, try to do 5 to 10 minutes of dynamic stretching.
- After your workout, spend an additional 5 to 10 minutes on static or PNF stretching.
Even on days when you do not work out, schedule at least 5 to 10 minutes for stretching. This can ease stiffness in the muscles and increase flexibility.
Stretching should primarily target your body’s major mobility-enhancing muscles, such as your calves, hamstrings, hip flexors, and quadriceps. Stretching exercises for the shoulders, neck and lower back can provide relief for the upper body.
You can stretch daily after your muscles have warmed up or after every workout or athletic event. To get started, try this 5-minute daily stretching routine.
Conclusion - Benefits of stretching exercises
Stretching exercises are beneficial not only for all athletes but also for the people who exercise daily for half an hour. By doing stretching daily you can increase your range of motion, enhance your body posture, and calm your mind by adding 25-30 minutes of dynamic and static stretches to your daily workout.