Health Tip: Benefits of Stretching

Source: Wellness Coaches USA

 Stretching Essentials:

Basic stretches to improve your flexibility should focus on the major muscle groups of the body: calf, quadriceps, hamstrings, hip, lower back, neck, shoulder, and wrist.

–         Hold each stretch for at least 15 seconds, up to 30 seconds for really tight muscles or problem areas.

–         Don’t bounce! Bouncing as you stretch can lead to muscle injuries. It causes small tears (micro tears) in the muscle, which leave scar tissue as the muscle heals. The scar tissue tightens the muscle even further, causing more inflexibility and making you more prone to pain.

–         Focus on a pain-free stretch. If you feel pain as you stretch, you’ve gone too far. Back off to the point where you don’t feel any pain.

–         Relax and breathe freely. Breathing must be slow, rhythmical and controlled.

–         Stretch before and after. Light stretching before the start of your day should be followed up with a more thorough stretching regimen after you day is complete.

 The goal of stretching is to improve or maintain the range of motion in your joints and muscles.

 Proper stretching lengthens muscle tissue making it less tight and can lower your risk of injury. In addition, stretching can reduce muscle tension, improve coordination, develop awareness, promote circulation, and most importantly, a proper stretching routine feels good and can be a relaxing part of your day.

 As you age, muscle shortening will gradually change your joint position and stride length. This causes much of the chronic, insidious damage to the ligaments which results in changes in joint position and posture. Most of the chronic, low-level inflammation and pain in people’s muscles and joints is the result of how people function, NOT how old they are. To help combat the effects of aging, you must stay active and consider your health status on a daily basis.

 Benefits

–         Increased flexibility

–         Improved circulation

–         Better posture

–         Stress relief

–         Enhanced coordination

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Health Tip: Benefits of Stretching was last modified: August 26th, 2014 by Sarah McGorry