What are the benefits of stretching?

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More and more people are playing sports. Some go to the gym, some attend group classes, others exercise at home. Regardless of the type of exercise and discipline you choose, you cannot forget about stretching. Why is it such an important part of every workout?

Every athlete – both professional and amateur – knows how important the warm-up is for training. Unfortunately, not everyone realizes that a good workout should end with stretching. This is a big mistake, because skipping this stage can end in injury or muscle pain.

What is stretching?

Stretching is nothing else than stretching, that is exercises which are aimed at increasing the muscle length. Each of our muscles is built of myofilaments: actin and myosin. When we move, the myofilaments move, which causes the muscle to shorten or stretch. Regular stretching reduces muscle tension and primarily causes myofibrils to elongate.

What does stretching give us?

The benefits of regular stretching are numerous. All trainers, physiotherapists and people dealing with sports professionally unanimously claim that stretching is not a waste of time, and in fact it is essential for our body. Stretching after training is a great way to avoid cramps, muscle pain and soreness. Muscles get shortened during exercise, and stretching is a way to restore them.

A body that is stretched frequently becomes more open, bouncy and upright. Stretching also helps to avoid muscle pain, which is why it is often used as a rehabilitation method.

We should not forget about other benefits of stretching such as:

  • improving circulation,
  • strengthening of tendons,
  • improving blood supply to the muscles,
  • accelerating the process of muscle regeneration,
  • relaxation and calming of the body,
  • energy boost,
  • improved motor coordination,
  • reduction of stress,
  • elimination of tension in the body,
  • increased awareness of your own body,
  • reduced risk of injury.

When to perform stretching exercises?

For better results, stretching exercises should be performed after the warm-up and after the workout. For the initial stretching you should allocate from 10 minutes to 15 minutes, and for the final stretching up to 10 minutes.

Types of stretching

There are two types of stretching. The first is dynamic stretching. These are exercises that are ideal before training. They consist in performing dynamic movements (e.g. leg and arm swings, jumping jacks and jumps) for about 10 repetitions. These exercises will allow you to increase joint mobility, flexibility of muscle tissue and minimize the risk of injury.

The second type, static stretching, is designed to calm the muscles after training and return them to their original state. Exercises involve using the strength of muscle groups to hold a stretching position, such as a deep push-up or wide straddle. Each stretch should last about 15 seconds.

Main photo: Katee Lue/unsplash.com

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