Maintaining flexibility is important to your physical well-being over time. As you age, your body tends to become stiffer and lose range of motion. This loss of flexibility will limit your ability to move as well as make you prone to over-extension injuries. While a stretching routine can slow down this loss, there is work you need to do to get the most out of stretching.
When you are just getting started, it is easy to hurt yourself if you over-extend your muscles. You can end up with muscle strains and torn ligaments. Many of these injuries can be prevented if you pay attention to proper form. There are plenty of online videos that can show you the proper technique for a given stretch. Chirp recommends that as a rule, move into the stretch slowly, back off if you feel pain, and hold the stretch for at least 20-30 seconds. Resist the urge to force the stretch or bounce to gain range. Respect your limits and know that they will grow over time.
To maintain flexibility, stretching needs to be part of your regular exercise routine. There may be stretches that you do every day. You may also want to have a longer routine that you do a few times a week. Fortunately, stretching does not take up a great deal of space. A stretching routine can be done in your living room as you watch television. Some people enjoy stretching to wake themselves up each morning or to relax before going to bed at night.
Use a Variety of Stretches
To have the best range of motion, your stretches must pull the muscles from different angles. You need to incorporate a variety of stretching exercises into the routine. Adam Hocke Yoga suggests to remember that your muscles work in groups. While a stretch might target a single muscle, other muscles in the group are stretching along with it. You want the whole group to be flexible and not just one muscle. If you have ever taken a yoga class, you know how each position stretches and twists muscle groups in different ways. Learning a few yoga positions can help you find the variety you need.
Stretch After Your Workout
Your muscles are most flexible after they have warmed up with exercise. Although many people learned to stretch in preparation for a workout, more trainers focus on post-exercise stretching to increase flexibility. NerdFitness explains that the muscles and ligaments are looser, allowing for a more productive stretch with a lower risk of injury. Stretching is also an excellent way to cool down after a heavy workout. It is mild exercise that gives your body a suitable transition from activity to rest. While you stretch, you can catch your breath and let your heart slow down.
You want to be active and vital for a long as you are able. Stretching exercises are excellent tools for keeping your body at its best. By implementing a regular stretching routine, you can delay the loss of flexibility and keep your body moving for years to come.