Why do You need to Stretch?
Stretching does not get the respect it deserves. You may have noticed that when you stand on the yoga mat, you take stretching only as a warm-up exercise. Most of us absent-mindedly stretch for a few minutes before and after a workout. It does feel good after a soaring workout session, but it is not enough to stimulate flexibility or gain any other stretching benefits. Experts believe that stretching should not be seen only as a few body movements that aim to warm or cool down muscles before and after exercise. It must be treated as a form of workout in itself.
I know, how important it is for some people to build lean muscles, or maintain a crazy fitness routine involving cardio. But, this shouldn’t mean that you don’t consider flexibility as equally important in all this fitness regime. Stretching helps a great deal in promoting flexibility in your body that is why it’s your way to go.
Stretching keeps the muscles flexible, strong, and healthy, and we need that flexibility to maintain a range of motion in the joints. Without it, the muscles shorten and become tight.
Source: The Importance of Stretching
It’s especially important after that whole pandemic episode. Every activity during that lockdown phase had come to a halt, which made every one of us quite lazy to get up and to do anything. To break this cycle after months of inactivity, stretching is the most ideal getaway to an active lifestyle.
Why Flexibility is Important?
We put ourselves at risk of muscle damage, strain, and joint pain when we stop stretching our tight muscles since our body needs the flexibility to support a range of movements in the joints.
Let’s take an example to elaborate the process. Sitting all day on a chair for your office work tightens the hamstrings, which eventually impedes walking as it doesn’t let you extend your legs or cause strain on your knees. And a strenuous activity like running may end up damaging the muscles due to sudden stretch.
Flexibility improves mobility, posture, muscle coordination, reduces the risk of injuries and muscle soreness. It even leads to a better overall “shape”.
This is why we suggest regular stretching because it will keep your muscles flexible and strong. Then, the pressure put on them won’t damage them easily and you’ll be safe to do a variety of strenuous activities. Plus, these are the healthy muscles that keep a person away from the risk of falling, which happens due to the balance problem.
Where to Start?
Now we know why we need to stretch because it promotes flexibility and flexibility in your body has multiple benefits. So what would be your next step? To start stretching of course! Our body has multiple muscle groups and stretching them regularly will rejuvenate them. Also know that you don’t need to stretch every muscle your body has. The most critical area in your body for mobility are in the lower extremities which include calves, hamstrings, quadriceps, and hip flexors. Aim to stretch daily or at least three days a week to maximize the benefits.
A lot of people misunderstand why they stretch. Stretching as a warm-up prepares your muscles to be worked out, and stretching as part of a cool-down helps them return to their pre-exercise state. Neither has anything to do with increased flexibility. For that you need to set aside time and work specifically on flexibility — and that means integrating dedicated stretching sessions into your weekly routine.
If you want, you can consult a physiotherapist who can evaluate your muscle power and tailor a stretching routine that fits your need. If you have health conditions such as Parkinson’s disease or Arthritis, you definitely want your doctor to tell you about the stretching routine that you can follow.
Utilizing resistance bands for stretching can help you greatly. It is a versatile tool to stretch your whole body smartly. Resistance bands have seen a boom in their demand ever since the quarantine time because everybody reverted to their home gym equipment. This equipment is popular for a variety of reasons which are: they are cheap, portable, and easy to store. Stretching is made easy for you with the help of resistance bands so you have no excuse left to avoid this much-needed stretch.
Exercises to Stretch Using Resistance Bands
Spread your mat and lie down on your back with the resistance band loop under the bottom of your foot. Hold the band with one end in each hand tightly. To add challenge to your workout, hold the end of the resistance band closer to your foot. It will tighten the grip of the band. Your other leg will stay bend with the foot on the mat. Now straighten your leg with the band around your foot towards the ceiling. You’ll bring your leg to the 90 angles until you feel stretch in your hamstring. Hold that position for 30 seconds and bend the foot Then switch and stretch your other leg.
Inner Thigh Stretch
Lie straight on the mat and just like the hamstring stretch, wrap the resistance band loop around the bottom of your one foot. Following that same position, keep your other bent with the foot placed on the mat. Straighten your banded leg towards the ceiling, and then, open it to the side. Hold for 30 seconds. This will stretch your inner thighs. After 30 seconds, switch sides and do the same stretch with your other leg.
Get into the kneeling position on the mat. Bend your left leg behind you and your right leg bent in front of you. You’ll balance your posture on your left knee bent and right foot on the ground. Wrap the band around your left foot with both ends of it being grabbed by your left hand. Pull your heel off the banded foot towards your hips. To balance this posture, use your forearm to rest on your right thigh. If you feel a stretch in the front of your left thigh, you are doing it right. Hold this position for 30 seconds and then switch sides with the right leg.
Sit on the mat with both legs stretched straight in front of you. Wrap the resistance band under one foot and grab one end in each hand. Pull the band towards you with the help of the ends you are holding in your hands. When you’ll pull the band, your foot will flex. Hold it for 30 seconds and then do the same using your other foot.
For the chest, stretch either sit on the mat with legs crossed or do it in the standing position. With your hands behind your back, hold one end of the band in each hand. Begin with your hands in the resting position, start pulling your hands gently away from each other so that you feel a stretch in the chest area and shoulders. Do not take your hands up to the ceiling. Hold this position for 10 seconds and repeat for 3 times at least.
For the stretching of your waist, stand straight and grab one end of the resistance band in each hand. Raise both of your hands over your head and create tension by pulling the band at both ends so much so that your arms are at should-width apart. Bend to one side of your body until you feel the stretch. Hold this position for 10 seconds and then do the same to the other side of your body.
Stand straight on the mat and hold the ends of the resistance band in each hand. Place the middle of the band at the back of your head. Gently tuck your chin and slowly pull the ends of the resistance band so you feel the stretch in your neck. Hold for 10 seconds and then release. Repeat for at least two more times.
Not just flexibility, stretching has many other benefits too. Instead of taking it as a pre or post-workout ritual, start taking it as a full-fledged workout. Considering the time, we are living in, our sedentary lifestyle has made it even more compulsory to stretch our bodies for stronger muscles and flexibility. Resistance bands are a great tool to utilize for the stretching routine. Head now to Xn8 Sports website to place your order now because the company is putting gracious efforts to bring quality products to their customers.