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Why and How You Should Start Stretching

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Click here to download and print our healthy stretching guide

Why Stretch?

The stretching gives elasticity to the body and significantly reduces the risk of injuries. Stretching is an intermediate point between exercise and physical inactivity, and as such activity should be carried out, you will notice your muscles are more prepared to work properly for an exercise and can relax at the end of a strenuous physical activity.

Stretching is also an important part of any sport. It is essential to stretch the entire body before and after a sport activity.

Why and How you should start stretching

Why Flexibility is Lost?

Flexibility decreases as you age because the muscles lose strength and elasticity. In addition, certain activities such as leaning forward while doing a desk job can also shorten your muscles. Gradually, this process makes you more susceptible to muscle injury(s) if you make any strange or sudden movement.

You can also lose flexibility with age due to the early stages of arthritis. With regular stretching, you can increase the flexibility of the muscles that join the bones.

Why and How you should start stretching

Stretching Prevents Injuries

Stretching must be a fundamental part of your daily routine, because its benefits are many for the body. Proper stretching will prevent your muscles from injuries and lack of mobility.

When you end the exercise, the body releases lactic acid through the muscles. This crystallizes and creates rigid fibers. It is important to stretch to end this rigidity and prevent future injuries.

It is important to get used to perform stretching, which is recommended to be slow and relaxed. Stretching should never be painful, however it should be a pain relief. It has to be comfortable so you can continue to implement regularly.

Why and How you should start stretching

Stretch All Muscles

Besides being important, it is necessary that stretch all your muscles when you practice some form of physical activity (jogging, swimming, biking and even more when you lift weights either at home in a gym).

Through the stretching you get:

  • Reduce muscle tension
  • Improves overall flexibility and mobility of body
  • Increase range of motion and maintain existing properties
  • It maintains active muscles
  • Stretching is a major pain relief
  • Extensibility avoiding a chronic progressive shortening
  • Prevent injuries such as contractors or muscle cramps
  • Improve body awareness or proprioception
  • Facilitate muscle oxygenation

Why and How you should start stretching

Stretching The Older You Get

A well balanced posture is most important the older you get as the muscles in the front of the chest and hips often become tenser and crouch forward.

That is why many older people develop a curvy back posture and tend to walk leaning forward. It is therefore necessary to start stretching in order to develop good posture.

Why and How you should start stretching

Benefits of Stretching

The key to feeling better and living better is to stay active.

  • Stretching prevents cardiovascular disease
  • Delays the onset of diabetes
  • Prevents injuries, a major pain relief for old people
  • Reduces symptoms of depression 
  • Improve mental health and relieve arthritis pain
  • Reduces the risk of falling or if a fall occurs, accelerates ability to recover from it

Why and How you should start stretching

How to Stretch

What if you have never done exercise?

It is not too late to start reaping the benefits. By staying active, and some stretching exercises you can continue doing all the things that you like to do and remain active as you age.

Exercises do not have to be carried out in a rigid format. Even activities like gardening, brisk walk or raking leaves are all forms of stretching.

The benefits derived from the stretching are cumulative, so only several brief bouts of exercise during the day can be as good as a long lasting workout.

Tips and Guidelines

Stretching should not cause severe pain or fatigue. You may feel some discomfort that disappears when the stress is released, but there should be no pain. Here are some basic guidelines for stretching:

  • Slowly begin to stretch as it took years of such inflexibility. Hence, it will not be solved in just one day.
  • Take plenty of fluids unless your doctor has advised you otherwise.
  • Do not hold your breath during stretching. A relaxed breathing actually helps relax your muscles.
  • Always be aware of the position of the spine. Any end in the curvature can make them vulnerable to injury.
  • Warm up your muscles before stretching briefly, try some movements of arms and legs without weight.

You should include the following:

  • Strength training to maintain muscle and bone mass
  • Proprioceptive balance training to prevent falls
  • Aerobics or resistance to maintain a healthy cardiovascular system
  • The exercises for the elderly should also include a comprehensive program stretching to maintain flexibility of joints, muscles and pain relief

Static Stretching

Static stretching is an effective pain relief exercise and a better way to improve the range of motion in joints and improve blood circulation to the muscles. Ideally, it is recommended to stretch the major muscle groups two to three times a week. To perform a static stretching, you must maintain a position in which the muscle is stretched, then let the muscle returns to its rest position.

Click here to download and print our healthy stretching guide

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