To Stretch or Not to Stretch? Flexibility in Question
Flexibility and stretching are an important part of every fitness routine.
Stretching to maintain muscle flexibility and range of motion of joints and muscle groups is important because it can help prevent injuries, improves balance, promotes healthy muscle tone, and improves circulation. Stretching can be performed for almost any muscle in the body and must be done often to maintain proper range of motion.
Stretching before and after exercise can help prevent injuries. Always stretch after a light warm up in order to stimulate circulation and warm the muscles. The most common type of stretching is static stretching, where a body position is held with a muscle at peak tension. Holding this position for 30-60 seconds is most effective and should be done in a slow and controlled way to reduce the risk of injury. Another common type of stretching is dynamic stretching, where a muscle group and joint are moved through a full range of motion and brought to peak muscle tension. An example of this type of flexibility training is yoga.
Stretching should not be painful, but can sometimes be uncomfortable. In order to maximize the benefits of stretching, be sure that stretches are being performed properly and often, even every day. If done properly, maintaining flexibility and stretching can increase blood flow and reduce hardening of the arteries, can increase joint lubrication and reduce joint pain and arthritis symptoms, helps maintain proper body alignment and posture, relaxes tense muscles, and can help us avoid injuries.
To learn more about stretching and to get assistance with a stretching routine, browse our Merchant Directory for fitness experts or try yoga.
Author: Tony Montijo, BS Kinesiology, CPT, CES