By Laman Ismayilova
Flexibility is essential to our health and well-being. Daily activities would be much more challenging without the ability to bend over, twist, or squat.
However, flexibility declines as the years go by. If you don’t maintain flexibility as you age, the muscles will shorten and tighten. That's why stretching should be a vital part of your daily routine.
Health Benefits of Stretching
There are many benefits of stretching such as better blood circulation, flexibility. A flexible muscle is less likely to become injured.
One of the main benefits of stretching includes emotional and mental health. Regular stretching can relieve both physical and mental stress.
Everyone can learn to stretch, regardless of their age. So, it's never too late to enjoy the benefits of flexible muscles and joints.
What stretching actually does to your body?
In fact, many people confuse stretching with the warm-up phase. A warm-up is a routine that you do immediately before a workout to elevate core temperature and increase blood flow to working muscles.
The main goal of stretching is to increase flexibility and joint range of motion.
Main types of stretching
There are three kinds of stretching: static, dynamic (bouncing), and Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF).
Static stretching is held in comfortable position for 10-30 seconds. It is considered the most common form of stretching found in general fitness.
Dynamic stretching is performed by moving through a challenging but comfortable range of motion about 10-12 times. This type of stretching involves moving parts of your body and gradually increases the speed of movement.
Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) is widely regarded as one of the most effective forms of stretching.
PNF is based on the principles of human anatomy and neurophysiology. It is the fastest way to improve muscle elasticity. When done properly, PNF allows you to increase the range of motion around a joint.
It's important to know the difference between each stretching technique and how to properly execute them.
Stretching is a vital aspect of your exercise routine.
Firs of all, check with your doctor before stretching if you have an injury. Don't forget to warm up your muscles for 10 minutes. If something is causing you pain, take a break until the pain eases. Make sure you also focus on your thighs, hamstrings, calves, hips, lower back, neck and shoulders. Finally, avoid bouncing while stretching which can lead to a pulled muscle.
Laman Ismayilova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Lam_Ismayilova
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