Move to stretch

Stretching

Stretching (Photo credit: hosieo)

One of the most asked question is when/how/why to stretch. Stretching is done to improve range of motion and correct body alignment and muscle imbalance. If being done for reasons of the latter, it should only be done under the supervision of a fitness or healthcare professional. Stretching for wellness (as part of maintenance or improvement in the three aspects of physical fitness; endurance, strength and flexibility.) should be done all throughout the day in small but effective doses. A stretch should be held for at least ten seconds-but the longer the better.

If you are stretching to warm-up, you should keep it to dynamic callisthenic movements such as jumping-jacks. As your flexibility improves, you can up the skill level however some dynamic stretches should only be done by elite athletes due to high of risk of injury.

Static stretching is what most of us are used to. This is the classic bend-over-and-touch-your-toes type of stretching. This should always be done after a workout when the muscles are warm. If done while the muscles are cold (i.e. before you get on the treadmill) then you are pulling on cold, rigid muscles and increase your risk for injury while ineffectively stretching your muscles and tendons.

 

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