Medical research has produced proof a long time back, that stretching boosts circulation by elongating a specific set of skeletal muscles. The purpose for this elongation is the confirmation of muscle tone, along with improving the elasticity of said muscle. It is recommended that you stretch before and after working out to maintain enhanced range of motion, flexibility and muscle control, along with muscle coordination and better energy levels respectively. This form of exercise has therapeutic benefits too as it can help to relax cramping muscles. When you workout for long hours, it can be exhausting and deprive you of energy, which makes you feel tired. But with the proper stretching exercises and breathing techniques, you feel rested, calm and relaxed, and are able to get a good night’s rest, which plays an integral role for muscle recovery and repair.
What are the different types of stretches?
Quite a lot of sportspersons and athletes practice static stretching between their workouts with the sole purpose of reducing muscular nervousness and tension. The stretches are done in tricky but comfortable positions for a certain amount of time. There is a tendency of quads and hamstrings to tighten up especially if you are doing squats and lunges along with functional training for the arms. Your muscles will perform more efficiently during compound movements
It refers to stretches by moving through a difficult but comfortable range of motion repeatedly and requires more coordination from your end. It enhances functional range of motion and mobility in sports and activities for daily living.
Passive stretching indicates the usage of external assistance like a stretching device, your body weight, some equipment, strap, gravity etc. Your muscles are able to relax and the outside force holds you in position.
This type of stretching involves actively contracting the muscle in opposition to the one being stretched without using outside implements. The opposing muscle initiates the stretch, while the muscle you are trying to stretch experiences relaxation.
What are the advantages of stretching before exercising?
Increases the Flow of Oxygen
As discussed, when you stretch before workouts, the flow of oxygen via the bloodstream to your muscles increases. When muscles don’t receive adequate oxygen, they experience aches, pains, tightness, and tension, while exercising. Lack of oxygen causes problems in the knee, hip, back and neck. Even if you stretch for just 15 minutes, those muscles will sufficient oxygen, and get rid of aches and pains during workouts.
Since stretching helps to loosen the muscles and tendons, you get relief from muscle fatigue. As you age, the body flexibility decreases, especially if you spend long hours at a desk or on the couch. That is why this type of warm up is needed to “awaken” the dormant areas in the body, so they can function just like before. Thus you can exercise and burn calories for a longer period of time.
Alleviates Tight Muscles
You don’t have to undergo complicates stretches to generate suitable effects. The basic 90 degree test pose will do just fine – all you need to, is pull one leg forward to your upper body. As you gain more flexibility, your challenge is to increase how close you can pull your leg to your upper body. It alleviates tight and tense hamstrings, which is one of the major causes of pain in both knees and legs.
Due to lack of oxygen, your muscles are unable to elongate properly, but if you stretch properly, it reminds your brain the correct length your muscles are meant to be at when you’re exercising. This improves coordination and your muscles are less likely to experience rip and tear.
When muscles remain stagnant, the blood tends to accumulate in them, so you feel tired and lethargic. Movement helps to nourish muscles and improve concentration levels, due to the blood flow to the brain. Thus you get increased levels of energy.
What are the benefits of stretching after exercising?
One of the top advantages of stretching is increased and enhanced flexibility of various muscle groups in the body. Flexibility is not only important when it comes to fitness, but is a vital component for lowering muscular tension. It aids constricted and contracted muscles to be restored to their original form. If you can stick to post-workout stretches consistently, the body becomes more flexible – the effects are noticeable quickly. You will find it easier to bend, stand, squat and do a host of other flexibility related exercises, which would have otherwise not been possible. For instance, leg stretches after a long run can boost muscular power and endurance. Using muscles and stretching them properly after working out helps to use the same muscles towards a greater range of motion, thereby utilizing their maximum capacity.
Eliminates Lactic Acid
Muscle fatigue and soreness occurs due to the lactic acid produced by the body when you start exercising. In fact, the lactic acid starts to build up from the moment you begin the workout. Stretching helps to get rid of it and relaxes the muscles.
Excessive sweating and dehydration can make your muscles cramp horribly, thereby causing severe pains. By regularly sipping on water and stretching sore muscles, the chances of muscles cramping up are greatly reduced. A lot of this depends on the kind of stretches you include in your workout schedule.
Promotes Muscular Coordination and Muscle Tone
Stretching ensures enhanced muscular coordination, when muscles are able to work in tandem. This happens only if you are in the habit of stretching on a regular basis, and it enables better functional mobility of muscle groups especially if you are doing functional strength training. Stretching is done after intense weight training sessions as well, because it reduces muscle fatigue and soreness, by speeding recovery time. Thus muscles are prepped and ready for the next workout.
Cools Down the Body Gradually
After a rigorous workout, your heart rate goes up a great deal, so it is necessary to bring it down. Stretching helps to reduce heart rate at a gradual pace, which puts less pressure on the heart. The body has a better chance of coming back to its normal equilibrium with gentle stretching than rushing out of the gym into the open air.
Check out the Best Selling Muscle Roller Stick on Amazon from Elite Sportz Equipment, which is used to apply moderate pressure to loosen muscles and knots. The center of this stick is made up of metal, so you can rotate it easily and distribute pressure from the rollers evenly. It is mainly used to provide pain relief in various parts of the body and aids in quick recovery as well. A number of passive stretches can be performed using this stick. You can utilize it like a warm up and cool down mechanism – the former prevents aches and cramping before working out, while the latter assists in the cool down effect after exercising to avoid injuries. Conveniently sized, this stick can be carried in your luggage while traveling, or you could just put it in your gym bag – it fits almost everywhere.
What exercises can be done for pain relief?
Take a Look:
Position the body on the right side while keeping the right leg flat, the left foot flat on the floor, and the knee bent at 90 degrees. Make sure the center of the roller is placed under the right arm pit at a perpendicular angle to your body. Stretch your right arm straight (as far as you can) while resting the left hand on the roller. Maintain this position, roll from the armpit about four inches down towards the waist, and work your way up. Continue for 30 to 60 seconds, and then transition to the opposite side.
Shoulders and Pecs
Position your body face down and keep the left forearm on the floor. One end of the foam roller should be under the right shoulder, while extending the arm straight as far as you can, to the height of the shoulder. You need to form a “T” shape with the roller. Roll from the shoulders to the right pec and go up. Repeat for a time period of 30 to 60 seconds before switching sides.
Stretch your legs in the front, you can use your hands like in the image to the right or you can place the massage roller stick perpendicular to the body, and rest the lower right calf on its center. Put your hands on the floor, use your triceps to life your butt of the floor, and place the left foot on top of the right calf. Start from the lower right calf and move up to the flesh portion. Go back and forth for 30 to 60 seconds, and then switch to the other leg.
Pain relief is not the only reason to perform these exercises, because they help in overall fitness as well. It is advisable to consult a personal trainer to know more about the different types of stretches, and find out which one is best suited for you. But make sure that stretching is incorporated into your exercises regardless of whether it is cardio, jogging, cycling, or running.
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