Why Stretch Yourself?
Your body has over 600 muscles, and they vary in shape, size, and function. What is common to all of them is that every one of them expands and contracts. Persistent use of the same muscle groups can result in overtraining, insufficient rest and habitual shortening of the muscles. Alternatively, in muscles that don’t get used enough, the fibres begin losing their vitality and elasticity.
Stretching helps to restore normal length to otherwise shortened and fatigued muscles. The pain and tension in shortened soft tissues will gradually accumulate over time and rarely abate without some specific remedial stretches.
Whilst stretching certainly won’t prevent injury it can certainly reduce your risk!
Follow these 8 basic rules for stretching success:
- Stretch warm muscles: stretch after your warm up
- Don’t bounce
- Don’t push for pain
- Hold neutral posture
- Stretch both sides equally
- Be careful with injured areas
- Don’t Rush
Give your muscles the chance to adjust to the stretch by holding the position for 20 to 30 seconds when using a static technique. Dynamic stretching has also shown to be useful – this means you can move in and out of the stretch slowly. Take the time to gradually increase the range and amplitude of movement so you are not extending the muscles too far too quickly.
By Holly Brasher B.App.Sc. (Phty) M. Sports Physio
APA Titled Sports Physio and Practice Principal at SquareOne Physio
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