A woman doing stretches Photo: iStock
1 Why stretch?
Most of us are familiar with the instant relief that comes from stretching, but did you know that it could improve your long-term flexibility and injury healing time? Healthsmart unearths the benefits of a regular bend-and-breathe routine.
o Stress relief through the loosening of tight, tense muscles.
o Easily integrated into a busy lifestyle. Three times a week is all it takes to stay supple.
o Increased flexibility and joint mobility
o Greater blood flow to muscles, shortening recovery time from injuries.
o Improved posture, as muscles are not gradually tightening
o Enhanced coordination, so you’re less prone to injury
It’s simple and low-impact, but done incorrectly, stretching can go from helpful to harmful. Follow our simple guide and brush up on your stretch do’s and don’ts!
1. Warm up to avoid pulling muscles
2. Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds, in order to lengthen tissues safely
3. Repeat each stretch 3-4 times per session, each time you repeat the movement you’re attempting a greater range of motion
4. Remember to breathe, as most of us instinctively hold our breath while stretching.
1. Bounce as you stretch, as this can lead to microtears in the muscle.
2. Stretch a tight muscle during or immediately after running or exercising (wait at least 30 minutes).
3. Know the “No pain no gain” mantra? Forget it. If you feel pain during a stretch, then loosen the pressure until you’re comfortable
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