Intense workouts aren’t the only way to benefit your body. There are certain stretches everyone should practice in order to improve range of motion. This can help to reduce your risk of injury while it enhances your overall athletic performance.
By understanding stretching and getting to know the stretches everyone should practice you can provide yourself with those healthy benefits.
The stretches everyone should practice are not the same as the controversial ones ahead of or following exercise. Studies have been mixed about those types of stretches as some show that they are beneficial while others show that they have very little benefit or even none at all. That said, those stretches also depend on the activity. While some activities can see performance improvements and reduced soreness later on, sprinters might actually see worsened performance from stretching.
Instead, the types of stretches from which most people can benefit are those that start the day, that break up times in which you are very sedentary or that loosen the strains of a long day before you go to bed. This practice can help to boost the range of motion of your muscles and joints. They can also better your flexibility, help you to perform better in physical activities, enhance your sleep, reduce your chances of injury, boost blood flow to your muscles and even ease emotional strains like stress and anxiety.
There are a few things you should keep in mind before stretching:
Don’t confuse stretching with a warm-up – Stretching cold muscles can be harmful. That’s why this practice is best to follow some movement, for example after your morning walk, after a burst of exercise like jumping jacks or jogging on the spot in the middle of your workday, or at the end of an active day.
Effective stretches are symmetrical ones – No matter the stretch you do, if you do it to one side of your body, aim to do it for the other side in an equal way. Flexibility and range of motion also have to do with balance. This happens when both sides of your body are treated similarly.
Pay attention to your major muscle groups for improving range of motion – Concentrate on stretching out the largest muscles in your body like your shoulders, neck, lower back, hips, thighs and calves. This focuses on the parts of your body that play the largest role in the movements you’re making and how flexible you are.