The importance of stretching


Building muscle and achieving aerobic fitness is not enough. You also need to think about flexibility.

You might think that stretching can only be done by runners or gymnasts. But to protect our mobility and independence, we need to work hard. “A lot of people don’t understand that regular stretches should be done every day,” said David Nolan, a physical therapist at Harvard University’s Massachusetts general hospital.

Why is this important

Stretching to keep muscles flexible, strong and healthy, we need this flexibility to keep a range of joints moving. Without it, muscles shorten and become tense. Then, when you call on muscles to engage in activity, they are weak and unable to go all the way. This puts you at risk of joint pain, strain and muscle damage.

For example, sitting in a chair all day is causing tension in the back of your thighs. This may make it harder to straighten your legs or straighten your knees all the time. Similarly, when nervous muscles are suddenly required to stretch hard, such as playing tennis, they may be damaged by sudden stretching. Injured muscles may not be enough to support the joints, which can lead to joint damage.

Often stretching muscles, keeping muscles long, lean and flexible means that fatigue “doesn’t exert too much power on the muscle itself,” Nolan says. Healthy muscles also help people with balance problems avoid falling.

Where to start

The body is full of muscles and the idea of daily stretching may seem overwhelming. But Nolan says you don’t have to stretch your muscles. “The key areas of liquidity are in your lower extremities: your calves, your hamstrings, your hips in front of your thigh and your quadriceps. Stretching your shoulders, neck and waist are also helpful. Plan to extend or at least three or four times a week.

Find a physical therapist (your local Y is a great place to start), and they can assess your muscle strength and customize a stretch that fits your needs. If you have chronic conditions such as Parkinson’s disease or arthritis, you need to work with your doctor to remove the new stretching regimen before you start.

The hamstring stretch will keep the muscles in the back of your thighs flexible. Sit on the floor with your legs in front of you. Slide your hands down until you feel the heat. Hold for 30 seconds, then slowly return to your sitting position.

Cumulative effect of stretching

Stretching today will not magically give you perfect flexibility. You need to continue working on this process over time. Physical therapist at Massachusetts general hospital, David Nolan (David Nolan) said: “this may take several months to get tense muscles, so you won’t after one to two times become very flexible. “It takes a few weeks to a couple of months to be flexible, and you have to keep working to keep it going.”

Proper execution

We used to believe that stretching was necessary to warm up and prepare for their activities. However, a growing body of research shows that stretching muscles before the muscles are warm may actually hurt them. Nolan said: “when all is cold, fiber is not ready, and might be damaged, if you first action, there will be blood flow to the area, which makes the organization become more soft and comfortable. All you need to preheat your muscles before stretching is 5-10 minutes of light activity, such as brisk walking. You can also stretch after aerobic or weight training exercises.

Hold for 30 seconds. Don’t bounce back, which can lead to injury. You’ll be nervous for a while, but you shouldn’t feel pain. If done, the tissue may be injured or damaged. Stop stretching muscles and talk to your doctor.


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