Stretching is an often neglected, but seriously important aspect of your exercise routine. Increased flexibility improves balance, decreases injury risk, and improves joint range of motion. This makes both exercise and everyday tasks easier and safer. Stretching increases blood flow to your muscles, which helps them perform better when you work out. The benefits are clear, but to many, the proper methods are not. Here are some tips for safe stretching that will help you improve flexibility.
- Warm Up First: Stretching is usually considered a warmup for more intense exercise. However, stretching cold muscles can result in injury. There are also some studies that say stretching directly before intense exercise can actually decrease performance in some cases. You should warm up with some jogging or light walking before stretching. You can also stretch after your workout.
- No Bouncing: A lot of people tend to bounce when they stretch, increasing the intensity of the stretch for short moments in succession. Stretching should actually be a smooth motion. Hold your stretch for 10 to 20 seconds at a time without bouncing. It should only be slightly uncomfortable. If it hurts, you are pushing too hard.
- Balance Muscle Groups: Start by stretching your largest and most used muscle groups. That includes your calves, thighs, lower back, neck, and shoulders. Alternate muscle groups every time you stretch and aim for symmetry.
- Make It Routine: Stretching is beneficial as a part of your daily routine. The increased blood flow helps to relieve muscle stiffness and soreness.
- Consult Your Doctor and Trainer: If you have had past injuries, you should consult your doctor about what stretches will be safe and beneficial to you. Don’t dive in without talking to a professional. An experienced personal trainer can also help you improve your flexibility by identifying your weak points and showing you how to perform stretches with proper form.
Use these tips to safely increase your flexibility and improve your muscle and joint health today! If you’re looking for a reliable personal trainer in the Dartmouth, MA area, Sault Fitness offers customized training and diet programs that help individuals with unique goals and body types get in better shape. Flexibility is one of the main focus of our training, whether it be with first-timers or experienced athletes. Contact us today to find out more about our services and book your first appointment.