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The Importance of Stretching (Do’s & Don’ts Checklist)

The Importance of Stretching (Do’s & Don’ts Checklist)

Stretching is a form of physical exercise in which a specific muscle or tendon is deliberately flexed or stretched in order to improve the muscle’s felt elasticity and achieve comfortable muscle tone.


It’s not enough to build muscle and achieve aerobic fitness. You need to think about flexibility, too. You may think of stretching as something performed only by runners or gymnasts. But we all need to stretch in order to protect our mobility and independence.


Why it’s important


Stretching keeps the muscles flexible, strong, and healthy, and we need that flexibility to maintain a range of motion in the joints. Without it, the muscles shorten and become tight. Then, when you call on the muscles for activity, they are weak and unable to extend all the way. That puts you at risk for joint pain, strains, and muscle damage.


For example, sitting in a chair all day results in tight hamstrings in the back of the thigh. That can make it harder to extend your leg or straighten your knee all the way, which inhibits walking. Likewise, when tight muscles are suddenly called on for a strenuous activity that stretches them, such as playing tennis, they may become damaged from suddenly being stretched. Injured muscles may not be strong enough to support the joints, which can lead to joint injury.


Regular stretching keeps muscles long, lean, and flexible, and this means that exertion “won’t put too much force on the muscle itself”. Healthy muscles also help a person with balance problems to avoid falls.


Did you ever see a cat after it wakes up from its slumber? What’s the first thing it does?


Yes it stretches before it goes off walking and you see dogs doing the same.


It’s their natural instinct- what they are doing is stretching there spine, this is nature and we as humans should be doing the same on a daily basis.


There are a few simple rules that should be followed when starting a stretching programme


  1. You should never stretch cold. So first thing in the morning when you get up to go stretching straight away, have your shower first, make a cup of tea and move around a little. Then start your stretches, if you stretch cold without warming up you are in danger of injuring a muscle or tendon.


     2. There should never be pain stretching, if there is pain gently back off the stretch until pain has gone. If the pain        does not go away- stop that particular stretch. Don’t do any more until you can find a reasonable explanation why it hurts. Let get it medically checked out.


     3. Always go into your stretching slowly, don’t rush it,stretch nice and gently


  1. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times. If you are stretching shoulder muscles or leg muscles always stretch both sides. For best results do this 3-5 times daily.


  1. If you are planning on doing active exercises like going for a run or playing a match- only hold the stretch for 5-10 seconds but after the activity stretch again and hold for 30 seconds. You see muscle has memory and if you hold the stretch for 30 seconds pre activity you are risking the muscles effect of shortening during activity, thus risking the chance of injury.

I hope folks this has been helpful tips! It’s my passion to promote healthy living!


To Your Health And Wellness,

Don Kelly