Staying fit has become extremely essential in the present day world. More and more number of youngsters are falling prey to heart diseases and cholesterol problems due to unhealthy eating habits. Obesity is another outcome of a luxurious lifestyle which includes no form of exercise.
A well planned fitness program is the solution to all these problems and an indispensable part of any fitness regime is stretching.
Benefits of Stretching
Stretching increases your flexibility which in turn boosts your athletic performance. It also helps in forming the right sports posture. If done regularly, stretching lubricates the movement of your muscles by increasing their range of motion.
This reduces the risk of getting injured due to muscle activities. Stretching also increases the flow of blood to the muscles. As you become old, your tendons tend to tighten and you might face difficulties in walking and standing. An excellent way of avoiding this problem is to stretch regularly during your youth period.
Stretching may cause injury if not done in the correct way. Most people have the wrong notion about stretching. Let us look at the basic rules of stretching.
Always warm up before you start stretching. You have not been in a boot camp all your life. Hence stretching without warm-up can cause muscle cramps or injury. Warm-up raises the muscle temperature, which increases the flow of blood to the muscles and improves the contraction of muscles. It also prepares your body for the workout which makes it easier to lose calories.
Stretch regularly. Remember to stretch before and after every workout. Make sure that both sides of your body are equally stretched so that all the muscles are equally affected.
Do not force yourself into any position as it might tear a muscle. Once you comfortably get into a stretching position, continue staying in that position for some time. Breathe deeply to relax yourself. Do not bounce as bouncing while stretching might damage the muscles. The damage might also tighten your muscles and form a scar tissue.
Discontinue stretching if it causes a sharp pain. Stretching might cause slight discomfort or mild pain but if the pain is stinging, stop immediately.
Types of Stretching
Stretching your neck relaxes the muscles on both sides of your neck.
To have a good posture, try the chest stretch. It expands the chest and affects the shoulders, arms and chest.
Daily activities have a tendency to tighten the calf muscles. Double calf stretch can provide some amount of relief to the tired calf muscles.
Horse biting tail stretch targets your abdominals, sides and lower back. If you have back problems, then be careful otherwise you might end up hurting yourself.
The rear thigh muscles, also known as the hamstrings can be relaxed by using the standing hamstring stretch. This stretch also targets your lower back.
To loosen your shoulders, arms, lower back and upper back, try the back stretch or back expansion.
The standing quad stretch concentrates on the front thigh muscles or the quadriceps and the lower back. If you have face knee problems then you should avoid this stretch.
These are the basic stretching exercised that are usually followed. You might come across numerous others which are either sports specific or concentrate on one body part.
If you want to get rid of the excess flab and dream to have the perfectly toned body, then it is time to pull up your socks and start a rigorous workout schedule. And remember, the first step of any fitness program includes stretching.