You Must Stretch If You Are Going To Do Any Activity
One of the often overlooked components of a fitness routine is stretching.
Many people get very caught up with their cardio and weight workouts and never take action to stretch, you must plan them down to the very last detail, and not let this other crucial form of exercise slip by the wayside. In order for you to be getting a complete workout and want to make sure you are dedicating at least a few minutes to performing stretching exercises.
How About Breathing?
Breathing is also a very important component of upper body stretches, as it will allow you to increase the range of motion as well. Before moving into position, take a deep breath in. Then, on the exhaling portion, move into position, focusing on feeling the muscles relax as you do so.
When your concentration level is high, you will find that the stretches are much easier to do.
While holding the stretch, with each breath in and out you take, try and move slightly deeper into position. Really pay attention to your shoulders at this time as that seems to be the one area of the body in particular that individuals like to tense up.
Simple Stretching Exercises : Upper Body Stretching Exercises
Learn how to stretch the upper body in this free fitness video series on simple stretching exercises.
Expert: Teri Lynne
Bio: Teri Lynne has worked as an event planner and host throughout Canada and the United States.
Filmmaker: Suzie Vigoin
Tips for Stretching Exercises for Flexibility
Tips for Stretching Exercises for Flexibility
Never stretch before you warm up. The only reason it feels good to stretch even when you’re cold is because your body sends out natural painkillers. To protect your tissues, you need to raise your cardiac pulse in order to fill them with blood. The only way to do this is by working out.
Swimming is the safest way to raise your cardiac pulse. Water reduces shocks to the body because it reduces the felt effect of gravity on your body.
Jumping rope can also be effective, but it may damage your tibia’s periosteums, which is the membrane enveloping your bones (except at junctions) that allows the blood to flow from your heart to your muscles connected by the tendon.
Swimming pools are sometimes inaccessible, so an efficient and safe way to raise cardiac pulse would be by cycling (except if you have knee problems).
Stretching before your workout will put your Central Nervous System (CNS) to sleep to increase your range of motion. It will result with less gain than improvement on the muscle part. The CNS naturally provides resistance by stimulating antagonists muscles when you flex a muscle to prevent it from being too stretched and tear your conjunctive tissues. Never stretch prior to workout, and always do it after.
Always stretch after you work out. Stretching will ensure you have an optimal circulation of body fluids throughout your system and an adequate flexibility which will prevent your connective tissues to pop when you contract your muscle.
Tips: Perform the exercises slowly to prevent injuries.
Do not bounce or bob when you stretch – this is not effective and may lead to injury.
If some stretches are difficult at beginner level, you might want to use a wall for support, or the assistance of a friend.
Ease into a stretch slowly if it hurts.
Stretching should not hurt, just inflict a small and negligible instantaneous pain.
Create a daily stretching routine.
Stretch every day in order to become flexible more quickly.
All stretches should be held, without movement, for 15-20 seconds. This surpasses the myotatic reflex which prevents any muscle from stretching for the first 10-12 seconds.
Exercise Carefully to avoid injury
Wear stretchy clothes.
You should stretch as far as you are comfortable when inhaling, and when exhaling, go a little farther than comfortable. This increases flexibility when used as a daily routine.
Learn to love the ‘pain’ of stretching.
Don’t exercise to much. it will cause injury.
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6 Great Exercises for Knee Osteoarthritis
These mobility exercises should be performed at least once per day. For best results slowly work up to 3 times per day.
How Often Should You Stretch?
In terms of frequency of stretching, how often you choose to do it is really up to you, the more you can stretch the better your results will be. Some form of light stretching is always advisable after a weight lifting session as it will help to reduce the chances you suffer from DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). It will also help your body to cool down after the workout and you will leave feeling more refreshed.
Don’t think that you have to be in the gym to get in a good stretching session either.
A very popular trick of the highly flexible ballet dancers or figure skaters is to stretch anytime they are watching TV.
Since it is very easy to perform these exercises on carpet in a small area, this should pose no problems. Plus, as long as you are stretching while watching TV, you know you won’t be eating! That is another great benefit for those of you out there who are trying to lose weight.
Some people also like to perform 10 minutes or so of stretching first thing in the morning to begin their day. This can have similar effects of that of a yoga session such as an increased calmness and a positive attitudeabout the day to come. Be sure if this is your choice however that you really pay attention to how far you are pushing your body as your muscles are now going to be most cold and tight immediately upon wakening.
If you can go outside (or alternatively if you have a treadmill at home jump on it) for 5 minutes to wake your muscles up first, that would be great. If that’s not an option, even just marching in place or walking up and down the stairs a few times can be sufficient.
Stretch exercise is better for relieve back pain than complete bed rest.
All movements of this Stretch Exercise focuses on the center of the body, the center being the point between the right and left side of the body and between the upper and lower half of the body.
An aged person can appear years younger with a lean and stronger core and a flexible spine he or she achieves from these type of stretching and strengthening exercises.
Tips and Precautions Before You Start :-
- Always wear comfortable clothes
- Never force your body into difficult positions, it should be pain free.
- The surface you exercise on should be flat and big enough to move freely.
- You should realize that this is an exercise routine that you should follow regularly, it is not something you can do once a month and benefit from.
- Pregnant women should only undertake exercise under guidance of a fully trained professional instructor because some of the exercises are contra-indicated for pregnant woman
Is it wise to stretch before exercising or not?
You should never ever stretch before doing weight training, as it will reduce the power of your lift and will cause loss in stability and this could lead to injury.
People who say dynamic stretching is good probably refer to activities-like baseball, etc., where you usually just warm-up by pitching a ball back & forth to the teammates or in sports-like, martial arts where stretching can prime the muscles in order to get them ready for use. . .
. . . if this is the case, stretching is good but definitely not before weight training.
One more question which might come to our minds would be that can we stretch between the sets or can we just sit and rest between stretches?
I would say no, as the idea of stretching between the sets is that you are cleaning your muscles out of the lactic acid when you do a stretch.
Stretching and the Gym
Imagine stretching of our biceps or chest to be similar like “ringing out a towel” that is soaked with some water. Therefore, if you do this, it presents same problem as written above by me, i.e., reduced power and losses of stability. It depends on your program and this is not such a big deal, but there is always a better side.
If you talk about between the sets, do some mild aerobic activity. Define your path through your gym between your machines and then walk up and down at a fast pace. When you do this, it cleans out much more lactic acid and will bring in much more oxygenated blood to the specific muscle you are training.
So it is for sure that do not ever just lie or sit and do nothing.
This can be considered as the worst form of relaxation technique.
One more thing to add that some difference between all your exercising activities must be taken into account.
It will be much more stressful for yourself to move from a fully relaxing position to a suddenly running position, rather than moving from a very slow jog to running position. Akin to this, it is much more stressful on your body to move from running too fast to fully relaxing. Least but not last, I would say it is much better to move from a fast paced run to a very slow jog and now to a fully relaxing position.
Again, This is another reason as it is just not good to sit between sets or running or jogging and to do nothing between the sets.
Partner Assisted Stretching
Another way you can really improve your flexibility is by using partner assisted stretching. To do this, have a partner slowly push whatever body part you are stretching slightly beyond your normal range of motion (it is most common to do this exercise with a hamstring stretch – you laying on your back while your partner pushes your leg towards your head).
After this is done then you are to start contracting the muscle and press against your partner, trying to move back into the normal position. Keep holding this contraction for about 20-30 seconds and then relax. As you relax your partner once again begins pushing on the body part and it is very likely that you will now be able to move further than before, thus increasing your range of body motion.
This is a effective exercise technique for those who are serious about their flexibility but caution should again be taken that you don’t push too far. It is much better to error on the side of slightly less than to pull a muscle as pulled muscles can take a long time to recover from.
So next time you are about to walk out of the gym before stretching, think again. You would be doing yourself a great injustice by not including some stretching as part of your workout routine. Even just ten minutes at the very end will go a long way to helping increase your flexibility and keeping you limber later on in life.