The benefits of stretching and the best exercises to do at home
Until a few years ago, stretching was just a supplement to other sports. Sometimes we do stretches at the end of a workout for a few minutes, without understanding the exact purpose. Today, it has become an independent physical activity, which is fundamental to maintaining a loose and indifferent state of flexibility and movement of the body. And if we want to live in luxury.
Let's find out how this activity generates, how it allows our body to remain young and flexible, or in some cases, to renew its movements. How long can it make us live in daily freedom of movement and precision of positions. Finally, we will find out how natural and easy it is to practice everywhere and what are the different types.
Stretch, instinctively born with a man
Stretching is an English term meaning stretching and is used in sports to refer to a group of exercises aimed at improving muscle growth. But don't we extend our most natural and unconscious gestures as soon as we wake up? Doesn't the body seem to demand it of us? This extension is just a simple extension. In fact, it works to stimulate blood flow to the muscles (and the brain), relieve muscle stiffness, and promote alertness and body awareness.
Observing the same movement in animals made us believe that it was an innate and natural position. In a way it is necessary for living organisms. Over time, this may have led to conscious applications of stretch to human movement. And at the birth of disciplines such as yoga, pilates or even anti-gravity yoga, which make stretching a staple of their practice.
Where does stretching come from?
Many associate the origin of stretching with the United States, especially since Bob Anderson, an American former runner and writer, is often referred to as its "inventor". Sure enough, stretching came from America to Europe decades ago as part of exercise, leisure culture, and body care. In fact, the book written by Bob Anderson is considered the bible of stretching.
Most books written after that consist of and rely heavily on this book. But the stretch is of Eastern origin and is strongly associated with a holistic approach to well-being, typical of Eastern philosophies which tend to regard body and mind as an indivisible and inextricable whole. Anyway, just go to Bangkok where there are statues over 2000 years old, representing people doing stretching exercises.
Initially, ballistic stretching, which consists in the uncontrolled swinging of the limbs or torso, was very popular. Since this methodology has been shown to be harmful and counterproductive, it is no longer practiced.
Dynamic stretching: The same type of movement but performed in a controlled manner. This method is recommended in sports programs that require high-speed movements, because it works on the flexibility of muscles and tendons. An agonist muscle that contracts quickly tends to stretch the opposite muscle (the muscle you want to stretch). Therefore, the "recoil" movements are performed at a certain speed.
Static Stretching: The most popular stretching regimen is inspired by yoga, and with its poses and breathing method, they base their practice on stretching exercises. They consist in taking a specific position, which is different for each muscle or group of muscles. Then, hold this position for a few seconds (usually 15 to 30 seconds) to relax the affected muscle. Do this slowly so as not to stimulate a reflex of the opposing muscles.
Isometric stretching, the most complex form, is divided into several components (PNF, CRAC, CRS) and is possible only after good preparation.
How do you keep your joints young?
Have you ever felt restricted, rigid, limited in your movements, inflexible when bending or picking up something from the ground? Or have you ever trained in a sport but couldn't achieve optimal results? Do your limbs feel tired after hours of sitting? Well, if yes, then not to worry but to assess the area of improvement available. And start working to get the most out of it.
The way people move is their resume.
Our bodies speak for us, how we treat them and how much we care about their well-being. It can tell the story of a life of wellness, neglect and limited movement. Everything depends on us. If the body is not compacted and trained, it is forced, over time, to have less fluid and less fluid movements, always getting tired more quickly and making greater efforts in all its daily activities. Decreased muscle flexibility, reduced ability to coordinate, loss of energy, and joint wear and tear, making the body susceptible to aging faster.
They must be faced in order to promote the rejuvenation of our entire musculoskeletal system.
Stretching, which includes muscles, tendons, bones, and joints, promotes an overall improvement in mobility. But also better joint lubrication, thus resisting cartilage aging and thus osteoporosis. In fact, the tension keeps the joints "young", and thus slows down the calcification of the connective tissue. The tensile function is to stretch the connective tissue (tendons, ligaments, etc.) present in the contractile structure, as well as muscle fibers. Connective tissue is stretchy (it can be stretched), but if it is not used regularly by physical exercise, it loses this essential property and ages in a short time.
Speaking of stretching, it is also necessary to refer to the mobility of the joints (also called: joint range, flexibility, extensibility, etc.). This is the ability to perform large movements and within the limits of the maximum physiological extension that the joints allow. Here are the benefits (not just flexibility) that this activity provides to those who do it:
At the musculoskeletal level, stretching increases the flexibility of muscles and tendons, with an overall improvement in mobility.
It is an excellent way to prevent muscle cramps. In some cases, it reduces the feeling of fatigue and can prevent muscle and joint trauma.
Stretching exercises also help lower blood pressure by boosting blood circulation. They promote relaxation by reducing physical stress and improving coordination of movements. Stretching also reduces muscle tension and heart rate - in short, it relaxes you. The most important thing is to have comfortable positions to breathe normally. Good oxygenation restores the balance of physiological functions and muscle tone, thus reducing any state of tension in the body.
When you take incorrect postures for a long time, the contracting muscles begin to contract. Once returned to the normal position, the shortened muscles resist and prevent the normal realignment of the bone segments. By relaxing the muscles of the back, pelvis and legs, you will find your correct posture more easily and maintain it effortlessly.
Who can exercise it, when and where?
Anyone can do stretching exercises anytime, anywhere. If you are training, stretching can be done as a pre-workout warm-up and as a post-workout cool-down. In the first case, the muscle is preparing for the transition from rest to activity thanks to the metabolic-thermal effect of stretching. In the second case, stretching will allow you to restore the initial conditions of flexibility, because it will reduce muscle tension.
Since flexibility can only be achieved by being aware of one's own movements, the first step is to control the gestures. Therefore, it is important to be aware of a certain movement while doing this, and to avoid acting automatically. In fact, the ability to stretch a muscle is determined by the nervous system and its tolerance for a certain radius of stretching. If we take into account the messages of the nervous system, the benefits will be numerous and natural. However, it is basically a nice and simple activity that anyone can do. Perhaps without confronting others, as this is likely to lead to a change in the perception of pain threshold.
An important element is the environment in which you are training: The stretching process generally involves a series of positions performed on the floor. So the floor should not be cold and it is best to use a mat so that the surface you are stretching is relatively comfortable. The environment should also not be noisy, as this does not contribute to relaxation.
The rules to perform them correctly
It is certainly possible to achieve the best results with perseverance and commitment. But it is also true that the gradual improvement of muscle flexibility in training is a very motivating component. Thanks to stretching, it is possible to find the right postures, to express the maximum potential of the agonist muscles and free the body from stress and tension. Thus realizing the rejuvenation of the body. visually.
Here are some practical suggestions when preparing for this activity:
Determine the muscle group to be stretched, find a comfortable but effective position, which, once reached, must be maintained for 15-30 seconds;
elongation should not exceed the pain threshold;
Before stretching, the muscles should be warm. So it seems more appropriate to focus on stretching at the end of the training to help the body relax after the work session. However, some authors suggest, in order to increase its effectiveness (especially with regard to connective tissue), a cold stretching procedure;
Wear comfortable clothing that allows for ample movement and does not obstruct breathing.