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  Stretching Before Exercise –
7 Tips To Get The Most Out Of It…


    Stretching has long been believed by the Chinese to encourage the free flow of blood and chi (qi, or life force) in our bodies.

    Fitness gurus are aware of the fact that stretching fortifies the ligaments and the tendons and can strengthen the bones indirectly. In addition, stretching keeps the mind relaxed.

    It has also been practiced for years because it was believed to minimizes exercise-related injury, although the veracity of this latter benefit has been disproved by a few scientific studies.

    In the JOPERD article (The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance), “Stretching During Warm-Up: Do We Have Enough Evidence?” the researchers concluded that there was no guarantee that stretching prevents injury during exercise.woman-stretching

  
    However, the authors acknowledged the fact that stretching does have a long-term benefit of decreasing muscle stiffness, resulting in greater dynamic flexibility.

    The two short-term effects of stretching reported in the study were a possible decrease in strength before the “supercompensation” or “recovery” training phase (occurs after the body has undergone adequate recovery; during this phase, the individual’s performance level exceeds his performance level during prior to the training), and a temporary improvement in motion range.

    In the past, fitness enthusiasts were taught to stretch first before doing warm-ups.

    Today, we are advised to first do the warm-ups before stretching.

    The reason? Judith Hanna, a senior researcher at the College Park’s University of Maryland, says we need to warm up so we don’t pull anything.

    Safe as stretching may look, there are useful tips we could follow once we decide to incorporate stretching into our daily routine.

    Tips for safe and effective stretching:

  1. Although a stretching routine is easiest when done in the late afternoon or early evening, they significantly help the chi and blood (which has become sluggish during the night) to flow freely when done in the morning.

  2. Never bounce into a stretch. For instance, when you’re standing and reaching for your toes, let your arms hang instead of bouncing for your tips to reach your toes.

  3. Never stretch too far too fast. Your muscles need to become flexible little by little.

  4. Work with your breath and relax further with every exhalation.

  5. Perform your stretching routine daily to keep your body flexible and supple.

  6. Vary your stretching routine regularly. This not only prevents being “burned out” or what they call “bored out,” but also touches on different muscle groups as well.

  7. Match your stretches with the activity you are about to undertake. Stretching must be geared towards preparing the parts of your body which will be most used during the activity.

And finally, avoid stretching if you are not feeling well; have experienced any recent joint or muscle damage; have a major physical problem of any kind; and have had a recent surgery, injury, or accident.


 





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