Are you stretching correctly? Are you stretching at all? Improper or lack of stretching can lead to injury. Learn the benefits of stretching and tips to keep you safe!
Benefits of Proper Stretching
Stretching Reduces Injury
Stretching helps limber up muscles and tendons which will help to prevent a pull.
Stretching Prevents Stiff, Sore Muscles
If you stretch AFTER a workout you can help prevent soreness or muscle aches.
Stretching Encourages Blood Flow and Helps Improve Performance
Stretching encourages the flow of blood to your muscles, this provides muscles with oxygen and nutrients to help them to keep going.
Stretching Improves Muscle Development
Stretching helps you to build full, long, an lean muscles. Insufficient stretching can lead to muscles that become stunted and short.
Stretching Increases Range of Motion
You will have a wider range of motion when performing exercises and when participating in different athletic events.
Stretching Improves Posture
Stretching your back can also help you to improve your posture and may help alleviating pain throughout your body.
Tips to keep you safe while stretching
- Do not stretch before you warm-up! Cold muscles don’t stretch well. You may injure yourself if you stretch your muscles while they are cold. Warm up muscles with light walking, jogging, or biking at low intensity for 5 to 10 minutes before you stretch. Or stretch after you exercise when your muscles are already warmed up.
- Focus on major muscle groups. Stretch muscles based on the activity you will be doing. If you will be running stretch your calves, thighs, hips, and lower back, etc.
- Don’t bounce. Hold each stretch for about 30 seconds and repeat three or four times.
- Stretch until you feel tension, not pain. If you feel pain, you’ve stretched too far.
- Make a habit of stretching. You will receive the most benefits by stretching regularly. Aim for two to three times a week.
Basic Leg Muscle Stretches
Stand at arm’s length from a wall or a piece of sturdy exercise equipment. Place your right foot behind your left foot. Slowly bend your left leg forward, keeping your right knee straight and your right heel on the floor. Hold your back straight and your hips forward. Don’t rotate your feet inward or outward. Hold for about 30 seconds. Switch legs and repeat.
Stand near a wall or a piece of sturdy exercise equipment for support. Grasp your ankle and gently pull your heel up and back until you feel a stretch in the front of your thigh. Tighten your stomach muscles to prevent your stomach from sagging outward, and keep your knees close together. Hold for about 30 seconds. Switch legs and repeat.
Lie on the floor near the outer corner of a wall or a door frame. Raise your left leg and rest your left heel against the wall. Keep your left knee slightly bent. Gently straighten your left leg until you feel a stretch along the back of your left thigh. Hold for about 30 seconds. Switch legs and repeat.
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