— Many exercise enthusiasts work hardto maintain cardiovascular health and peak physical form. One essential element of fitness that manyoften neglect is the importance of stretching and creating flexibility Experts maintain that stretching after aworkout is not only valuable for increasing fitness performance, but can alsohelp in preventing injury, though the stretches do need to be performedcorrectly.
Flexibilityrefers to the range of motion for a given joint, with the degree of flexibilitybeing influenced by how well the surrounding muscles and connective tissuesstretch. Stretching, on the other hand,refers to the movements taken to increase flexibility. Unless there is an injury, reduced range ofmotion is often caused by tight, stiff muscles, and can lead to chronic painand improper posture. Though, hyperflexibility can also lead to injuries as muscles which are too loose may beweak and cause instability in the joints.
Withthese differences in mind, and knowledge of what steps to take, it is easy toincorporate proper stretching exercises into your daily routine. The first rule to perform stretches at theproper time. Make sure the muscles arewarmed before holding the poses. Stretching before exercise can cause musclefibers to tear more easily. Like rubber bands that are too stretchy, musclesthat are overly elastic must work harder to generate the level of power neededfor physical performance.
Anotherrule is to keep the stretches static and unmoving. Experts recommend moving slowly into thestretch, keeping good posture, and once there hold for approximately 10-30seconds, or until you feel the muscle release. Don’t push yourself to reach farther than your muscles allow. Stretching takes time and the slower you movethe better it is for your body.
Perform aset of stretches, again holding 10-30 seconds, for each group of muscles. A whole stretching sequence should take youno more than 2-5 minutes depending on how it feels. This extra time spent working on yourflexibility and caring for your muscles will be rewarded by quickerperformance, recovery time, and better athleticism in all your activities.
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