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Wednesday, 04 May 2016 10:51

Why is it important to stretch?

The need to stretch cannot be emphasised enough. We live in a day and age where we spend most of the day sitting; in cars, buses or train, at work, and at home. This, in turn, results in the shortening and tightening of muscles in our body leading to a reduced range of motion, aches and pains during different movements and exercises and increases our risk of injury if we are not moving properly.

Here are 3 important reasons to stretch:

1. Improves range of motion: Being too tight to move into the positions required in our workouts diminishes the benefit that could be derived from the exercise. A prime example of this is the squat. The ideal squat finishes with the hip crease below the knee level with knees tracking over the toes. For many, this position is difficult to reach due to tightness in the ankles, hips and lower back. Having mobile joints allows us to complete a full range squat, so you get more out of every rep.

2. Decreases the risk of injuries: Injury can and will occur to all people at some stage. However, we are able to minimise the risk by having our joints working properly together in order to allow our muscles to work most effectively. Stretching can help also help to alleviate aches and pains in our body, and helps sore muscles feel better after a tough workout. Stretching the hips, lower back, legs and gluteals (bum cheeks) can reduce the commonly occurring lower back pain.

3. Improves circulation: Stretching can help to encourage blood flow to the muscles. Improved circulation means that the muscles receive fresh blood, and along with it, fresh oxygen and nutrients. Anecdotally, many people find stretching helpful for reducing or soothing muscle soreness (DOMs) following a workout.

How much stretching should I do?

Generally speaking, as much as you can! For those that are pressed for time, spending 10 minutes a day doing 4-5 different stretching will improve our flexibility.

How long should I hold a stretch?

Each stretch should be held for at least 1 minute. If you cannot hold on for the whole minute, ease back and relax before going back into the stretch. Make sure to keep breathing during this time.

How far should I stretch?

Stretching should not cause you ANY pain. Learn to distinguish between the discomfort of the muscle stretching and pain from stretching too far too soon. Take your time, start slow and build up your flexibility over time.

See below for a 3 stretches you can be doing to improve your flexibility

  1. Wall Hip-Flexor Stretch
  1. The Pigeon Stretch
  1. Extended Puppy Pose Stretch

At BodyBlitzPT we use these techniques along with many more for our Boot Camps and Personal Training sessions in our Girraween studio.

 

Read 1905 times Last modified on Wednesday, 04 May 2016 11:01