You’ve probably heard that stretching can loosen up your muscles before exercise and help stop injuries from occurring, but it’s not quite as simple as that. Stretching has many benefits, but the wrong kind of stretching can actually reduce your performance during a workout. That’s just one of the things that you might not have known about stretching and here are ten more, interesting facts about stretching:
1. Stretching improves flexibility
If you want a flexible body, then stretching is the way to go. It will enhance your body’s all round improvement and it is always recommended that some stretching exercises be included in any workout regime.
2. Stretching improves the circulation
Stretching exercises improve the flow of blood around your body. Improving your circulation means that more blood and oxygen are reaching your muscles and your brain. This can help avoid injuries in a workout and it’s also why it feels so good when we stretch first thing in the morning.
3. Bouncing when stretching can cause injuries
Your stretching exercises should place a gentle distrain in your joints. You should never do repeated stretching against the muscles, or bouncing as it is called, because this can tear ligaments and cause other injuries.
4. If you feel pain then you’ve gone too far
When you stretch, you should feel the strain, but not feel pain. Some soreness after stretching is normal but, if you are feeling any real pain, then you are stretching too hard.
5. Stretching before a workout will not stop muscle soreness
Stretching before you exercise will help to warm you up, make you more flexible and improve your balance, but it won’t actually stop your muscles from feeling sore after a workout. Studies have shown that no amount stretching reduces muscle soreness, that’s just something that we have to live with!
6. Keep stretching balanced
When you stretch, remember to stretch both sides of your body, to keep things balanced. If you stretch your left arm, then stretch your right arm as well, and so on. Also, remember to stretch the muscles that will be used in a workout. For example, if you are preparing for a run, then do a few squats or lunges.
7. Too much stretching can decrease your performance
The best type of stretching to do before a workout is called dynamic stretching. These are stretches that include movement in them, like squats, lunges and burpees. Too much static stretching has been shown to actually decrease physical performance.
8. You need to warm up before you stretch
Some people think that stretching is a way of warming up, but this is completely wrong. Stretching cold muscles can cause tears in the muscles. You should have a gentle warm up, before you do any stretching exercises at all.
9. Add stretching to your everyday routine
Stretching is not only useful in the gym, it can be useful to stretch through the day. Many people spend a lot of time sitting down during the day, and standing up to do a few stretches every hour or so, will help keep your blood circulating properly and loosen up the muscles.
10. You can be too flexible
You might be surprised to learn that you can be too flexible. Flexibility of the joints does make exercise easier and less painful and everyday tasks like bending down or reaching up become easier to do as well, but if your joints are too flexible, then you can become more susceptible to injury.
Stay beautiful and be happy!