For most people who exercise and even for those who don’t, stretching is not the most exciting thing to do. Stretching may not give those endorphins you like, but it is definitely beneficial to your overall health. To make sure you can benefit from stretching, below we’ve listed three essential tips you should keep in mind while stretching:
Stretch after a Warm Up
Studies about stretching before and after workouts have shown mixed results. Some studies show that stretching before and after a workout gives little to no benefit. To help improve the effectiveness of stretching, it is good to warm up with a low intensity workout such as a jog. Stretching as a warm up exercise with cold muscles can actually worsen performance. However, performing a light jog and then stretching before a workout can prove beneficial. This is because your muscles are now warm and ready to flex, giving a better range-of-motion when exercising.
Focus on the Important Muscles
While stretching, most people tend to stretch every single muscle group out to feel limber. Though it is good to stretch everything out, it might not be the smartest thing to do. Focusing on major muscle groups such as your calves, thighs, hips, lower back, neck and shoulders can be more effective. It’s also a good idea to concentrate on muscles and joints you routinely use. If you are a runner or soccer player, stretching out your arms will not benefit you as much unless you are a goalie. Stretching out major muscles like the thighs and calves will waste less time and help your athletic performance.
Keep up the Stretching
Skipping out on stretching or only doing it occasionally can stop the benefits of stretching. Stretching regularly can improve range-of-motion and prevent injuries. Not keeping it up with it can put you at risk for those potential injuries again. To obtain the benefits from stretching, it’s good to stretch at least 2 to 3 times a week.
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Article written by William Graves.