Working out is not only one of the best things that you can do to enhance you athletic performance, but it is also essential for maintaining mood and weight balance and good health. It is vital to remember the importance of stretching to avoid sporting injuries. Too many people simply run out of the gym after training without first taking the time to properly cool down and stretch.
If you take the time to stretch both before and after your exercise routine, you can limit the amount of soreness that you feel after working out. Stretching will break up the lactic acid stores that develop in your muscles, which are what cause pain after a rigorous fitness routine. As a result, you will be able to remain consistent in your workouts and can keep moving with agility and coordination.
When it comes to breaking up and eliminating lactic acid stores, drinking plenty of water is vital also. Water is one of the essential parts of your training program given that it hydrates the muscles and keeps everything moving fluidly. Thus, if you are even mildly dehydrated, you should resolve this problem first, before doing any challenging stretches or placing other extreme demands on your body. Athletes who are properly hydrated are far less likely to sustain physical injuries.
The movements that you perform to limber up your muscles before a good workout also helps you gauge whether or not your body is ready for the demands that you are about to place on it. If you feel an extraordinary amount of pain while performing minor stretches, this could indicate the potential for injury or strain. It may additionally mean that you simply need to spend more time warming your body up.
Many people think that it is only necessary to stretch out the muscles that they will be targeting in their workouts. This couldn’t be further from the truth. It is essential to stretch the whole body and to consider this as multiple muscle systems that all need to work together. Thus, even though you may be targeting your biceps in the gym, you should loosen up your shoulder muscles as well, given that these will be involved in the required movements.
It is also important for people to learn the right methods for performing different stretches. Many people use quick, bouncing movements as they think that this has the best impact on their muscles. This can lead to physical injury as it does not give the muscles ample opportunity to expand slowly like they are supposed to.
Rather than bouncing movements, you should lean into each stretch while breathing deeply to properly oxygenate your muscles. Simply take a deep breath and lean into the stretch while exhaling. As you become more flexible, you can simply lean forward further. Avoid performing stretches with straight legs. You should try to assume positions that keep your knees slightly soft.
Before simply throwing yourself into a stretching routine, however, you should always perform your warm-up. This can be as easy as jogging in place for a few minutes, doing a short run on the treadmill or even dancing around for a bit. You want to get your heart pumping, your blood flowing and you temperature increased. All of these things can have a significant impact on the overall elasticity of your muscles. More importantly, they will help you avoid sprains, strains, and other uncomfortable developments.
A good warm-up will last at least five minutes, but you should try to stay moving at a relatively rapid pace for at least ten. This is a good number to remember when planning the cool down portion of your routine. When you are done working out, you simply want to slow down your respiratory and heart rate by gradually decreasing you motion rather than coming to an all out and immediate stop. Then you will be ready to perform your final set of stretches before going home.
Try to relax your body and your mind while stretching. This is a very cathartic process, and one that will help you exhibit far more control when competing or when placing your body under any other major demands. Deep breathing and efforts to keep your body properly hydrated will help you gain optimal benefits from these efforts. It is also vital to remember that you should never bounce or pulse into your stretches, but should simply bend deeply into them instead. As your flexibility increases, you can slowly move deeper into each position.