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A Bit of a Stretch

“Sit down, extend one leg forward, reach for your toes with both hands, and hold it there for 15 seconds.” You have most likely heard and done this hamstring stretch many times before and after exercise. This article will dive into the importance of stretching along with the times when you should be doing specific types of stretches.

Even though many people tend to not invest time into stretching, it is actually one of the most important parts of health. According to a physical therapist at a Harvard-affiliated hospital, stretching should be done on a daily basis. The risks associated with not stretching include torn muscles, injured joints, and even high blood pressure. Furthermore, an individual is likely to have more chronic stress if they do not stretch according to the American Council on Exercise.

A few of the benefits of stretching include; reduced pain and stiffness, increased blood flow, and improved quality of life with age. When a muscle is stretched, it’s structural units (sarcomeres) are pulled to full extension. This is beneficial because when action is needed from the muscle, it is able to respond with a greater range of motion and may be less likely to snap when put under pressure. Additionally, the right stretches simply feel great to be in!

As the previous post debunked, static stretching before exercise is not as beneficial as previously believed, according to recent research.  Stretching done before exercise should be dynamic and should include full range of motion movements. This results in warmed up muscles along with muscles that are ready for more intense movement. However, after exercise is the perfect time to do static stretching. Additionally, static stretching is beneficial to do any time of day, including days without exercise.

Considering your body has 650 named muscles, it can seem overwhelming when trying to figure out how to stretch them all. However, according to Harvard health, it is most important to focus on areas of critical mobility. Furthermore, think of the movements you do regularly and stretch those primary mover muscles. However, if you have arthritis or Parkinson’s disease, it would be recommended to consult a physician before starting a stretching routine.

At Urban Fitness Studio, we not only have university educated trainers but also a licensed chiropractic. Steve Casper is in the Studio most days of the week and welcomes new appointments to help you mend any mobility issues. Additionally, both our personal training sessions and Hybrid program have trainers tailor a program which best suits your needs.

Sources

Matthews, Jessica. 10 Reasons Why You Should Be Stretching. American Council on Exercise, 19 Apr. 2017, www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/professional/expert-articles/6387/10-reasons-why-you-should-be-stretching.

Mchugh, M. P., and C. H. Cosgrave. “To Stretch or Not to Stretch: the Role of Stretching in Injury Prevention and Performance.” Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, 10 Mar. 2010, onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1600-0838.2009.01058.x.

“The Importance of Stretching.” Harvard Health, Harvard Medical School, Sept. 2013, www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-importance-of-stretching.

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