Stretching is a practice widely performed by professional athletes and gym goers alike – but what is the importance of stretching?
The results may not be as obvious as 40 squats a day, but stretching shouldn’t be overlooked -stretching can increase your flexibility, decrease stress and reduce stiffness.
Whilst stretching is important, stretching a tendon just 4% beyond its original length can cause permanent damage – so it’s essential to know the different types of stretching before setting off!
What are the types of stretching?
Holding your muscle in a challenging but comfortable position for around 10-30 seconds – static stretching should be performed after your warm up.
Example: Shoulder Stretch
Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation:
PNF is an advanced type of stretching. The technique requires the contraction and retraction of your muscles – PNF stretching is often used for training and rehabilitation.
Example: Kneeling Quad Stretch
Performing repetitive gentle movements of a muscle to increase the range of motion. Dynamic stretching builds and warms the muscle and is great pre-workout.
Example: walking lunges
But, why is stretching important?
Improved quality of life:
Increased flexibility can improve your quality of life, especially as you grow older – as the body ages the muscles shorten and weaken, regular stretching can reduce this.
Stretching stimulates the receptors in the nervous system that produce stress hormones and lengthens muscles which relieves tension in your body and mind.
Yoga and PNF have been linked to improved health conditions including lower blood pressure and lower heart rates.
Stimulates athletic performance:
Regular stretching increases the mobility of your muscles! Increased mobility is beneficial during sporting activities and allows a larger range of movement.
Stretching has come a long way since that warm-up in P.E class!
To learn more about stretching or health and fitness why not book a fitness boot camp?
It’s the perfect way to start off your 2019 health kick!