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Know When to Stretch

November 11, 2010

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soccer girl stretching to warm up, know when to stretch




Stretching is probably one of the most important activities that should be done throughout the day, however most people don’t do it for whatever reason. The importance of stretching is lost on these people, which can lead to unfavorable body mechanics and injuries down the road. With so many benefits to stretching and a minimal amount of time it takes to stretch, everyone should be stretching on a daily basis.



            Setting up a stretching routine can be very simple, with minimal stretches and take as long as 10-15 minutes. The general idea is to stretch the entire body and not just 1 or 2 muscle groups, this way you get the most benefits. The ultimate objective of stretching is to warm up the muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints. This prepares them for activity, improves flexibility, promotes recovery, relieves muscle tension, and promotes balance and proper posture. By guiding the muscles and joints through their full range of motion, the body is physically prepared to continue on with daily activities whether they be going to work, or working out.



Stretching shouldn’t just be done before and after exercise, its benefits are for daily functioning as well. After sleeping for 6-8 hours at night, the muscles are tight and blood flow is slowed. Stretching right after you wake up will energize your mind and body, enhance blood flow and warm up the muscles. Not only will your body be functioning at an optimal level but also it can raise your spirits and start your day on a good note. Stretching in the evening, before bedtime will relax your muscles. It can relieve the tension that has been brought on throughout the day. It also prepares the muscles to eliminate toxins and recover lost energy. By stretching before sleeping, you can enjoy a longer and more restful sleep.



                So know you know when to stretch, and here you can learn the best daily stretches that you can do. Remember stretching doesn’t have to take up a lot of time in your day. 10-15 minutes of stretching can reduce muscle pain, improve balance, and reduce your risk of injury. So start with just a few stretches on a daily basis and work your way up to all of them. Remember you want to stretch all the major muscles groups from head to toe.  These include the neck, chest, arms, back, and legs.
Check out the best stretches for the entire body here!