Stretching the entire body is very important, especially for athletes. This activity has many benefits, especially if it involves several different muscle groups.
Importance of stretching
Every fitness instructor or body builder knows how important it is to stretch before exercise, and they make sure to explain that importance to their students and sport amateurs too.
Stretching prepares the body for the physical strain brought upon it through exercise. It increases the circulation of blood through the body and warms the muscles up so they can sustain the strain. Sometimes people skip stretching and go straight to a machine in the gym, but they pay for this mistake the next day when their muscles become sore.
Stretching should be done before and after the workout. It should also be done at least once a day even by those who do not exercise at all. It is especially recommended to stretch in the morning and in the evening, before bedtime. Stretching jump-starts the metabolism in the morning, and in the evening it helps the muscles to relax during the night so they do not feel sore in the morning. It is particularly recommended for people who often suffer from sore back or stiff neck.
A stretching routine can start with side bends, repeated ten to fifteen times on each side. This exercise is done with legs apart, one hand on the side of the body and the other in the air, next to the head.
Leg stretch comes next. It is done while sitting on the floor, feet touching each other with the soles. The knees should be slightly pushed towards the floor, as much as possible, with or without leaning over.
Calf stretch is done standing up with the feet slightly apart, and the body is bent forwards so the stomach touches the thighs. When the position is reached, it should be held for ten seconds.
The back can be stretched by standing straight, grasping both hands behind the back, bending over and trying to put the hands above the head, while the arms are straight.
Thighs can be stretched by standing and trying to touch the buttocks with the heels, without arching the lower back.
It is also important to stretch the neck, especially for people who spend a lot of time sitting, reading, writing or typing. This simple exercise is done by sitting down with the back straight and shoulders relaxed and rolling the head several times to the left and several times to the right.