Stretching is a set of specific exercises in which you extend your muscles and adjacent tissues – tendons, connective tissue, peripheral nerves. Usually, we only think of it when we aim to be more flexible than we currently are or after we get a muscle cramp. But stretching your tensed muscles brings much more benefits than you might expect. However, stretching is totally ignored precisely by those who have the greatest need of it, including the biggest fitness enthusiasts.
Periodic and proper stretching maintains good physical condition and brings with it a number of health benefits that I will mention in the following rows.
Helps blood circulation and Speeds up muscle recovery
Stretching is known for improving blood circulation in the body. This allows the nutrients to reach all muscles faster. Good blood circulation protects against muscle cramps and helps you recover faster after a workout. In addition, proper blood circulation is a basic condition for good overall health. It stimulates the growth of cells and the proper functioning of the organs. It also regulates heart rhythm and blood pressure.
When stretching, you relax your muscles, thus relieving stress. Your body releases endorphins which trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine. Here’s a suggestion: Stretch your neck and shoulders muscles before going to bed and you will have a better night sleep.
Makes you more flexible
Stretching gives a greater range of muscle movement and provides extra flexibility. If you include regular stretching exercises, your flexibility will be constantly improving. This also leads us to the next benefit of stretching.
Reduces the chance of injuries
As your age, your muscles shrink. This reduces the range of movement of your body and thus increases the risk of tendon injury. You need flexibility to avoid these unpleasant injuries.
What is the best stretching time
- The best time to stretch is after a workout.
As you probably know, at the end of each intensive workout, it is important to slowly reduce the pace and normalize your heartbeat. The sudden stop of movement does not contribute to this. On the contrary, the blood circulation is disturbed, the flow of oxygen to the brain becomes insufficient, resulting in an unpleasant feeling of fatigue or even dizziness.
That is why stretching after a workout is a great option. By performing it, you are giving to your body the necessary time to normalize the heart and respiratory rhythm and to improve its blood circulation. This in turn leads to cooling of the muscles and proper recovery.
- In the morning and before a workout
The first and most important rule for stretching is that it should be done only with warmed up With this in mind, another time appropriate for stretching is in the morning and before a workout. This will speed up the blood flow and will energize your body. However, stretching should be lighter and accompanied with a warm up routine, because the muscles are cold and the tendons are tensed.
Tips for effective and safe stretching
Here are the most important things to effectively and safely execute stretching exercises.
- DO NOT apply intense stretching without warming up first. You can do light stretching exercises with cold muscles, but perform intensive stretching only after warm up / workout.
- Stretch slowly to the limit of tolerable pain. Hold the position for 10-30 seconds, then release the pressure slowly.
- Make sure you are breathing slow and deep.