Exercise is great: It helps to lower your resting heart rate, lose weight, build muscle and helps you feel great. When done properly, exercise can be a huge benefit to your body, but when you forget to stretch, that is when disaster strikes.
The Importance of Stretching
We have all heard tell that stretching can help keep you limber, get you moving, and ensure that you are not going to get injured exercising. So, why is stretching so important? Stretching helps to keep muscles flexible and strong. This is something that we all need whether we realize it or not.
When muscles stay still for too long, when they are not being stretched and loosened up, they can shorten and become tight. They also become painful and weak. Without proper stretching and movement, your muscles can stop being able to move freely or extend fully. Much like the popular children’s toy Silly Putty, your muscles can become too tight and hard and do not move well when they are not stretched and moved around. Your muscles can become tight and hard to move if you are not getting up and stretching them often.
Tight muscles that are not stretched regularly can become so tight that when you do try to do something strenuous like exercise, they can rip and tear, causing serious injury. Our muscles support our entire body, help us walk, support our joints and so much more. It is so important that we take the time to really stretch and get our muscles stretched out before we try to do anything strenuous.
How to Stretch Properly
The first thing to remember when stretching is to not over-extend yourself. Do what you can with what you have and as you stretch more and move more, you will become more limber. You do not have to be able to touch your foot to your head on the first go around. Start out small and work your way toward more complicated stretches. You might try yoga or other strength exercises that focus on improving flexibility.
Start by extending your arms from side to side, twist your core, touch your toes. Start small and work your way up to those stretches that you see fitness enthusiasts raving about. By starting small, you are laying the foundation for more, and you are laying a path toward being able to stretch and fully extend yourself.
Categorised in: Physical Therapy
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