5 Rules for Stretching

Posted by Ericka Axtle-Ludwig 05/27/2017 0 Comment(s)

5 Rules for Stretching - blog title over image of woman stretching

 

How and Why You Should Stretch

 

Does it really matter if you stretch before a workout?  Well, according to the studies – we don’t really know.  They get mixed results – meaning some say it definitely helps and others say it doesn’t matter.  So what do you do?  At Sweat In Style Fitness, We think you should stretch, if for no other reason than it improves flexibility.  Keep in mind, as we age, our muscles naturally stiffen so stretching to keep them flexible will help to keep you moving.

Stretching can have the following benefits:

  • Improves flexibility
  • Improves joint range of motion
  • Possibly improve athletic performance (dependent on the activities)
  • Decreases the risk of activity-based injury
  • Reduces muscle tension
  • Promotes circulation

Is there a right and wrong way to stretch?

Yes – if you’re not using the proper techniques, you can actually do more harm than good.  Here are 5 rules for stretching:

  1. Warm up first and then stretch.  Stretching cold muscles can cause injury.
  2. Whatever part of the body your workout is focusing on – you should focus on stretching those muscles.  For example, if you’re focusing on your upper body then you want to stretch your neck, arms, and upper back.
  3. A stretch should not be painful.  You want to feel tension but if it hurts you’ve gone too far.
  4. Stretching is SMOOTH movements – they shouldn’t be bouncy. 
  5. Hold – simply stretching and letting go isn’t the goal.  You want to hold the stretch for 30-60 seconds.

 

5 rules for stretching on top of woman's legs with elastic stretch band

 

What is proper technique?

The Mayo Clinic has a great slideshow of basic stretches and the Arthritis Foundation also offers stretching videos.  Maintaining flexibility is important for everyone but particularly for those suffering with arthritis.

 

Yoga and Pilates actually incorporate stretching into the movements of the exercise and can be great for improving flexibility and building strength. 

 

Save

Tags: stretching

Leave a Comment