Without doubt, one of the things we miss most while staying at home is movement. And while it is difficult to organize on our own a whole training session as you would do in the gym or a group class, it is quite easy to turn our attention to another type of exercise that is otherwise often neglected: stretching. Fitness experts say it’s the part of a workout that most people tend to skip. It can make a difference in how your muscles respond to exercise by warming your muscles, which makes them more pliant.
But stretching is not just obligatory before exercise to warm up and prepare the muscles for sports. It is wonderful on its own, as it improves flexibility and posture, which are beneficial to our overall health and wellbeing. Without it, the muscles shorten and become tight. Regular stretching keeps muscles long, lean, and flexible.
Here, we have gathered a few tips for stretching, that you can apply while playing one of the thousands online videos available to all of us:
- The first and most important rule is: Stretching should not be painful! You should feel a stretch, but you shouldn’t feel pain. If you do, then it means you are overdoing it. Stop stretching when you feel uncomfortable tension.
- If you wonder where to start from: the areas critical for mobility are in your lower extremities: your calves, your hamstrings, your hip flexors in the pelvis and quadriceps in the front of the thigh.
- If you are doing the stretching before any type of physical activity, go gently. Stretch a specific muscle until you feel tension and then hold the position for 15 to 60 seconds. This allows muscles and connective tissue time to “reset” the stretch reflex.
- Breathe deeply when you get to the furthest point into the stretched position. Hold for at least 15-30 seconds into a stretched position; relax, and repeat the stretch, trying to move a little bit further into it during the second stretch.
- Do not bounce when you reach to the full extent of your ability, as this puts too much pressure on the muscle and connective tissue.
5 minutes a day would be a good start. And there is no excuse not to do it now! Furthermore, it could be a great new habit to establish now and bring into your routine.
And if all of the above is not enough as motivation, you can always decide to reward yourself with a small tub of healthy indulgence after each physical activity.