Stretching. What is it? How to do it? What are the benefits?

stretching

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Everyone after a long day of work, or a gym session, ends up stressed, spending many hours with a probable incorrect posture, with stiff and tight muscles, and it is more than convenient to stretch them.

Also, mental tension always causes numbness of the muscles concentrated on some points of the human body, especially the neck and back.

It is not enough to stretch four muscles quickly. We must relax the muscles, joints, tendons, and ligaments. And for this, you have to set some guidelines, dedicate some time, correct mentalization, and accompany these stretches with calm and deep breathing.

What is stretching?

Stretching is what is commonly known as non-jerk stretching. Given its growing importance in all sports and its multiple benefits, it has come to be practiced in gyms as group classes.

Stretching seeks relaxation and strengthening of muscles, through breathing and body awareness.

It is a gentle exercise that can be practiced by anyone, since each one only stretches to the best of their ability, without ever pushing themselves excessively or reaching pain.

The goal is to stretch all the muscles in the body, slowly and precisely. Although at first glance it seems a quiet and simple activity, it is a series of complex exercises that require great concentration.

Reduce stress from daily routine. At the end of the session, your feeling of well-being will be very similar to that of undergoing a massage.

How can you stretch correctly?

It is done directly on the ground on a mat, and you must wear light and comfortable clothing that facilitates your movements. To do stretching it is very important never to force. It is a progressive exercise in which the basis is perseverance.

The position should allow correct breathing

Breathing, during stretching, should be normal and calm; never hold your breath during a stretching exercise. Correct breathing is important because good oxygenation attenuates the athlete’s state of tension.

Stretching is based on a series of steps

  1. The first thing is to slowly reach a certain position, the one in which you notice a good level of tension. You should stay like this for 10 to 30 seconds and then relax as much as possible.
  2. Thus, one must go to a successive position in which the tension of the muscles increases. Remember that it is essential to perform the movements slowly, so as not to suffer jerks and avoid subsequent muscle discomfort.
  3. If the stretching is executed correctly there is no possibility of suffering major ills. The risk can come when the execution is done incorrectly; for example, when, while the muscles are still cold, the relaxed positions are reached quickly.

General recommendations

The ACSM (Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription) establishes the following general recommendations for flexibility training:

  • Establish a series of stretching exercises to be performed regularly aimed at the main muscle groups, basically using static stretching.
  • Before performing flexibility exercises, a proper warm-up is necessary to raise body temperature.
  • Perform a minimum of 2-3 sessions/week, although the idea is to do it 5-7 days/week.
  • Stretch the muscles in the direction of the maximum range of motion.
  • Hold each stretching exercise for 10 to 30 seconds.
  • Perform 2 to 4 repetitions for each stretching exercise.

Benefits of stretching properly

  • Stretching determines benefits, both in the long term and immediately. Its practice favors physical relaxation, eliminates muscle stiffness, immobility, or stiffness, reduces fatigue and heaviness, increasing the feeling of lightness, and helps to correct postural defects.
  • Thanks to stretching, you will achieve good physical coordination, allowing wider and more fluid movements and increasing the possibility of movement of the different parts of the body.
  • Stretching improves capillary irrigation, has a therapeutic effect on fatigue and an energy return on the nerve centers. If you submit to a session of these stretches you will notice both physical and mental relief.
  • In addition to preventing injuries, it lengthens muscles, which tend to stiffen from physical exertion, rebalances the posture of the back, and helps avoid the dreaded soreness and cramps.

Published research gives the following benefits of stretching:

  • Increases the useful range of motion.
  • They reduce the incidence of injuries.
  • Minimize the severity of injuries.

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