Happy Friday, everyone!! Whether you are a runner, hockey player, rock climber, etc, you probably already know what a vital role stretching plays before and after you complete your run, workout, or practice. Stretching is a great way to relax but it also helps with recovery, injury prevention, and flexibility. By definition, to stretch means to deliberately strengthen a muscle. For example, a hamstring stretch would be to lengthen your hamstring by leaning forward, reaching down towards the ground and touching your toes, if possible. This lengthens the back of your leg that is your hamstrings.
Stretching is a commonly overlooked, but very useful aspect of training. Whether you’re a full time athlete, beginner, or anywhere in between, the long list of benefits associated with stretching can have a positive impact on your training. In my experience the benefits of stretching include, but are not limited to, increased flexibility, better muscle condition, burning calories, releasing toxins, and preventing injury. I have found, stretching can certainly take your health and fitness to the next level in a short amount of time. Through better muscle condition and greater flexibility, an individual can expect greater ranges of movement, more efficient muscle contraction and greater recovery as a result of a small amount of extra stretching.
If you are a sedentary individual, meaning you never or rarely train, this can mean your muscles are deconditioned. The term “deconditioned” means a lot of things. One of them is that your muscle fibers do not stretch or contract as efficiently or effectively as someone who works out. It is only too common that a new fitness enthusiast – shortly after embarking on a new healthy lifestyle – has had to stop due to a crunchy knee or an aching shoulder or neck. This can be quite easily avoided with stretching the right muscles, providing the individual is not predisposed to a chronic injury or unseen biomechanical dysfunction.
You can stretch any and all muscles of your choice depending on what you are trying to achieve. Of course, for injury rehabilitation you will usually stretch the damaged or weak muscle tissue as well as the surrounding support group. For general flexibility you can stretch any and all muscles as you feel you need. Here is a list of tips I like to use when stretching:
Have a wonderful weekend, friends! 🙂