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Benefits of Stretching

Benefits of Stretching, and Not Just for Athletes

Stretching, put simply, is the action of extending the body and the limbs to the maximum point of resistance.  It is a very easy procedure to master and ought to be done every single day, but most of us put it off indefinitely, then the point in time eventually arrives when our span of motion becomes extremely limited.  If we engage in a stretching habit before the muscles contract and the joints lose total mobility, we’ll work to reach our old range of motion, although it will take a while to truly see the benefits of stretching.

Warm up stretches will always be suggested prior to performing any physical training, and it’s also a good idea to incorporate them into your post-workout agenda.  I have witnessed younger athletes go into competition without fully stretching out, but it can be a risky practice that almost all older, and wiser individuals have learned, to avoid.  Although there is little scientific verification to support any claim that stretching is going to improve performance, it will probably even in the short term offer better flexibility, and that could aid in a small way better quickness and mobility.

We Stretch mostly to Avoid Injury

But primarily most people stretch to steer clear of injuries.  So taking the argument a step further, is there scientific evidence that this really is the case?  Surprisingly there has not been a great deal of scientific research on the matter.  We merely assume that it’s good for us, and if we pull a hamstring we tend to  assume we’ve not stretched out as much as necessary.  A significant test a few years ago seems to indicate that merely by stretching prior to an event, if that was the only time you stretched, wouldn’t decrease the chance of injury.  However, those who stretched on a normal basis were far less prone to pull muscles and experience similar ailments.

Some of the Reasons Why Stretching could Help You

1.    Increase your range of motion.  This will be still of greater importance when we age, as it will keep us flexible and strong.
2.    Prevent injury.  As stated above, it is uncertain of its benefits for stopping injuries to competing athletes, however it helps us to be stronger plus much more flexible in performing common things like home tasks.
3.    Decrease muscle tension.  Stretching is useful for getting blood flowing to the joints and muscles, improving their energy.
4.    Cholesterol reduction.  Investigation has revealed that stretching on a long term basis, like that done in yoga, will help decrease cholesterol in the body.  The advantages here, and clearly this needs to be coupled having a nutritious diet, could be the prevention and perhaps even the reversal of hardening in the arteries.

There are many ways we stretch muscle mass to “limber up”, however passive stretching will be the one most of us probably connect with when doing golf swing exercises or before we exercise in the gym.  These might be completed unaided or with the help of a partner, and involves steady pressure to cause a movement to increase slowly the range of motion.  To do a stretching exercise correctly, the stretch should last at least 20 seconds and will be optimum for 30 seconds.  The maximum total time that should be put into stretching is 10 minutes, and subsequently it is thought to have diminishing returns.



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