You woke up and noticed a slight discomfort in your back, a popping sound, a pain or even feeling tired. There can be several causes for these occurrences, such as poor posture, stress, insomnia and even the practice of physical exercises without stretching .
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What is stretching?
It is a set of physical exercises that focus on preserving and improving the degree of muscle flexibility. The practice of stretching exercises increases the length of muscle fibers.
What is stretching for?
Do you know the importance of stretching for your daily life?
Both a sedentary life and the regular practice of physical exercises, to a greater or lesser extent, can promote the shortening of muscle fibers, with decreased flexibility. With the regular practice of stretching exercises , the muscles begin to better withstand daily tensions, preventing the development of muscle injuries and increasing flexibility.
What are the benefits of stretching?
The importance of stretching lies in its numerous benefits for the body, both for athletes and for those who are sedentary, but remembering: as long as it is done correctly and preferably under the supervision of a professional in the area.
Check out 10 benefits of stretching for you:
- Provides physical and mental well-being;
- Improves the perception of your own body;
- Reduces your chances of developing muscle injuries;
- Improves your posture;
- Reduces the risks of you developing spinal dysfunctions;
- Decreases your muscle tension;
- Soothes pain in trigger points;
- Stimulates the production of the hormone that provides well-being;
- Decreases the incidence of cramps;
- Soothes post-workout muscle soreness.
Stretching the body also brings benefits to the internal organs , as its practice stimulates the circulation of blood and nutrients in the body.
How to do stretching?
The practice of stretching exercise on a constant basis and, preferably, every day is essential. It is important to note that if you feel pain when stretching, something may be wrong with your execution. The movements must be performed correctly, calmly, relaxing, inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth.
warm up to stretch
Ideally, you should do a pre-warm-up beforehand, such as a 5-minute walk or jumping jacks, before performing the stretching exercises .
Where to start?
It is important to start the stretch with the large muscle groups (upper back, chest and back of the thighs and glutes), which are the ones that contribute most intensely to the execution of the movements. Then stretch auxiliary or secondary muscles, such as the muscles of the hands and fingers.
In all types of stretching , you must subsequently prioritize the execution of a specific stretch for the activity that has been or will be performed. Give preference to stretching with movements similar to the sport practiced. If you’re going to play soccer, for example, it’s worth flexing and rotating your hips outward or even kicking.
types of stretching
- dynamic stretching
This type of stretching is mainly indicated for cases in which the gain in flexibility improves sports performance. Do dynamic stretches – such as raising your knees, squatting and rotating your arms and torso. They increase joint mobility and range of motion. Dynamic stretching should be performed after an initial warm-up period, based on low-intensity cyclical exercises (walking, trotting, pedaling, jumping) and/or moving along the ground.
- static stretching
This is the most common stretch , being the one that is done with the muscles extended and in a static position, lasting from 20 to 60 seconds per movement.
- active stretching
In this modality, it is the contraction of a muscle that will cause its antagonist to stretch. You do not have the assistance of another person or equipment.
- passive stretching
This type of stretching is done with the help of some device, such as an elastic band or even a Swiss ball, or with the help of someone. In this case, control of the movement can be passed to someone else – so it’s important to be aware of your limit and stop stretching if you feel excessive pain.
Stretching before or after exercise?
Before, after or even without performing physical activities, the ideal is to stretch every day and avoid going more than 3 weeks without your practice.
What kind of stretching should you perform?
This question varies a lot from person to person, as it will depend on your goal after stretching.
Static stretching before exercise generates a short-term gain in flexibility, so it is suitable for sports that gain from this increase, such as gymnastics and yoga.
On the other hand, there are studies that show that this type of stretching provides a slight loss of muscle strength and power, and is not indicated for running and jumping. In this case, the most indicated is dynamic stretching .
Now that you know how to stretch, choose the one that will bring you the most benefits and start leading a healthier life!