Why do we need to Stretch?

 

If we constantly perform the same actions with our body certain muscles get overused. This leads to exhaustion of these muscles, which in turn reduces flexibility and decreases range of movement leading to injury. Stretching encourages the lengthening of these muscles.

The two most common questions I am confronted with regards to stretching are:

Do I stretch before or after activity?

Stretching is best performed when we have blood in our muscles. When our body is WARM! Nowadays we are encouraged NOT TO STRETCH vigorously before activity, so there’s the answer: STRETCH AFTER exercise/work. (If you are diligent do both, but only a LIGHT STRETCH beforehand.)

How long should I stretch a muscle for?

This depends on the size of the muscle. LARGER MUSCLES, like our legs, should be stretched for AT LEAST 30 SECONDS as it takes that long for the proprioceptors to communicate to the brain. SMALLER MUSCLES, like the neck and head, should be stretched for approximately 15-20 SECONDS.

If you constantly exercise or over-work take time to stretch, do a yoga class or, even better get a massage. A good therapist will find the tight muscles and lengthen them out for you.

 

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