Regular stretching helps to keep the muscles flexible, strong and healthy, which is important in order to increase joint mobility. If the the amplitude of movement is low or decreased, the muscles shrink and strain that results in joint pain, muscle sprains and injuries. In other words, stretching warms up the muscles and warm muscles are more flexible, making the muscles more responsive to moves or excersise.
Stretching can be static and dynamic. Static stretching requires to strain the muscles to the point of feeling discomfort, but without feeling pain. During the stretch muscles are strained in one position for 15-30 seconds without moving and repeated several times. It is important to take breaks and allow muscles to relax before repeating the motion. Meanwhile, dynamic stretching is more used among athletes. It also improves flexibility and helps to reduce the risks of injuries, but it is movement-based type stretching, such as walking high knees or circle your arms.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, keep knees and hips relaxed. Grasp your fingers and stretch your arms over your head, facing palms up. Take 10 slow and deep breaths, prolonging the stretch of each exhale. Relax and repeat again.
Lie down on your back, bend your knees at 90- to 120-degree angle, and place your feet on the floor. Lift your buttocks off the floor and hold this position for 10 seconds. Return to the starting position and rest for 10 seconds before you lift your buttocks again. Repeat this motion 5-10 times.
Stand on your arms and knees (arms put directly under your shoulders, knees under your hips and keep the back straight). Strain the abdominal muscles, bend your back and press your chin against the chest while looking down. Keep your muscles tight and hold it for about 10 seconds. Don’t forget to take deep breaths. Then release the tention and slowly return to starting position. Repeat it 5-10 times.
Whether you are beginner or an experienced athlete, you will feel the benefits of stretching even with the simplest of exercises. However, keep in mind that body needs time to get used to stretching as any other form of physical activity. Therefore, it‘s important not to exaggerate and strat stretching routine slowly, otherwise you risk to get injury. Try to spend 5-10 minutes a day stretching even though you’re not doing sports that day. Just keep stretching regularly and you will see how quickly you increase your flexibility, improve posture, reduce tension and brighten your mind!