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Stretching is a fundamental component of maintaining overall health and wellness. Regular practice of stretching keeps the muscles flexible, strong, and healthy. Flexibility is required to maintain range of motion in the joints and increase muscular strength. There are, however, some common stretching mistakes that might actually do more harm than good.
However, proper technique is important while stretching, else you might end up thwarting the entire purpose of working out and may suffer from injuries. When you adopt the right technique, stretching will help you relax, increase blood flow, enhance flexibility and optimize your workouts.
Be wary of the following mistakes and relieve yourself of stiffness and soreness in your joints and muscle:
A warm-up such as on-the-spot jogging before stretching can help elevate body temperature and increase blood flow. This will let you segway into the stretching routine that increases flexibility in the muscles, promotes a range of motion in the joints and reduces the risk of injuries.
If your legs feel heavy and tired, it could be indicating the need for some stretching. However, if you’re sweating or breathing heavily while stretching, then it means that you have overstretched your muscles. This could result in muscular strain and injuries. The trick is to not let yourself experience pain and not stretch beyond your comfort level.
If you are suffering from injured muscles, then avoid stretching till the impacted area has healed. In case you don’t do that, it could aggravate the situation as tendons and tissue could break.
Incorrect form and posture while stretching can lead to injuries. Another important factor is to choose the right stretch for the muscle group you wish to target.
Stretching a muscle for long durations will increase its elasticity. This means that muscles will have less recoil and responsiveness, making them weak before a workout.
Bouncing while stretching can be detrimental as it can cause muscles and tendons to tear. In fact, this ballistic motion can trigger the muscle to tighten to protect itself, defeating the purpose of the stretch.
A really common error people make is that they don’t stretch for an adequate duration of time. Stretching is a full-body experience. So, hold each stretch long enough to allow your brain to send a signal to your muscle to relax and elongate.
Never hold your breath while stretching as this tightens your muscles and causes inflexibility. Conscious breathing makes stretching more effective by increasing the blood flow and delivering oxygen to the muscles.
So, avoid these common mistakes and reap the fitness benefits of stretching!