In the last post, I talked about staying fit while playing sports. In this post, I’m going to go over some important things you should know about stretching.
Before training, you should prioritise doing warm-up or stretching exercises to prevent accidents or to enhance your output during your training. There are also a number of precautionary measures and tips to serve as guidelines when doing any kind of exercise.
Here are some of them:
- To increase your flexibility and avoid injuries, stretch before and after your workout. Stretching before working out prevents injuries during the exercises, but, did you know that stretching after your workout, when muscles are still warm, can increase flexibility?
2. Hold your stretching position for more than 60 seconds to increase flexibility. While holding your position for 20 seconds is enough for warm ups, holding each position for at least 60 seconds will develop your flexibility.
3. Don’t go into a stretching position then immediately return to the relaxed position, and do it repeatedly. This is more appropriately termed as bouncing while in a position. When stretching, hold that position for several seconds, and then slowly relax. You can do this repeatedly this way. Bouncing or forcing yourself into a position during stretching can strain or damage some joints or muscles. If you’re already suffering with joint pain this will only make it worse, particularly on weight-bearing joints.
4. Work slowly in increments instead of immediately going on to the hardest exercise or position.
5. Make sure that you’ve stretched or warmed up all muscle groups. For some people, even if they have strong bodies, they tend to neglect the neck when working out of stretching. Stretching the neck muscles can be as simple as placing the palm of one’s hand against the front of the head and pushing it. Then, do the same to the sides and the back of the head.
6. Stretch regularly to continually increase your range of movements and your level of flexibility and strength.
7. Workout based only your capabilities and not other peoples. Don’t force yourself to do exercises that you’re not capable of yet just because there are other people who can do it. Increase your limits slowly. Listen to your body. There are days when your body may be too tired or that you may have to consider reducing your range of motion. It’s not a competition and there’s no hurry.
8. Learn to rest. Rest in between sets and stations to make sure that your body has enough time to recover its energy. In addition, it is advisable that you don’t work the same muscle groups consecutively for two days. The muscles grow during the period when you rest and not when you are working out.
9. Do aerobic exercises to strengthen your heart. Aerobic exercises includes cardiovascular exercises such as skipping, running or swimming.
10. Music might help you when you want to train for longer periods or to increase your intensity.
Apart from preventing injuries and increasing your limits, it’s also said that stretching is good for a tired body and a stressed mind.
Make sure you look for the next post soon. I’ll be talking about some simple ways that you can be healthy and fit for life.