Stretching has numerous benefits like flexibility, mobility, stress-free body, the joints get stronger, and even the muscular movement gets strong. If stretching is responsible for numerous benefits, it should be a part of your daily life. But the question is – how often should I stretch? Every day or twice a week? How long should you hold a stretch? These are some basic questions that are hovering over your mind. Beginners have these questions on their mind and finding an answer is problematic. This article will cover all the questions and all your queries will be cleared. According to physiotherapists, stretches performed in the right manner are more effective than the stretches performed with a bad posture but a long time.
Set Goals before You Stretch
Stretching has several benefits but you need to set some goals first. Setting a goal will give you the motivation to stretch regularly. The goals can be anything you want to look like or feel like. For example,
- You can stretch because you want a more flexible body.
- You want to reduce the chances of injury.
- Maybe you wish to have a better posture.
- If the balance of your body is not right, you can set it as a goal as well.
- You need to improve overall health.
- You might be having pain and want to reduce it.
All of these can be your goal. If you aim to achieve any one of these, stretching will be easier and you will have stronger willpower to work with.
What Type of Stretching Do You Need
Stretching is not limited to a certain group of people and it is not prescribed according to need every time. Stretching should be an integral part of your workout routine. Like every other exercise, stretches must be performed for 15 to 20 minutes as well. You need to know the basic types of stretches to perform.
The Static Stretching
This type is recommended by trainers and physicians after a workout. Different exercises on machines and cardio stress your muscles. They can get stiff and soreness would be a problem for future workouts. To relax the muscles, you must perform static stretches after the other workout steps are complete. You can include the following static stretches in your routine.
Overhead Triceps Stretch
This stretch focuses on your triceps and the cervical muscles. Stand straight and hold your arm up. Now bend the arm and put your hand behind the head. Use the other hand to slightly pull down the bent arm. Hold the position for 20 to 30 seconds and the release. Do this two to three times and try to pull the arm downer every time. This stretch releases tension in your triceps.
To ease your biceps, this can be an effective stretch. Interlace your hands behind the back and the palms must face downward at the base of your spine. Stretch your arms in this position until the biceps and arms feel stretched. Repeat this two to three times and hold the position for 20-30 seconds.
The Cobra Pose
Your overall body can feel stretched at once with cobra pose and tension in all muscles will be released simultaneously. Lie upside down and place your hands right under the shoulders. Lift your torso and keep the elbows slightly bent. Repeat this two to three times for 20 to 30 seconds each.
The Dynamic Stretching
This stretching is performed before the workout to warm up your body. You cannot jump to rough exercises and machines without warming up. Dynamic stretching is beneficial when it comes to warming up and feeling motivated to exercise at a better speed. Here are some of the dynamic stretches you can add to your workout schedule.
Warm-up your legs with hip circles. Stand straight on one leg then make a 30-degree angle with one leg and rotate your leg. Repeat this five times for each leg. Gradually increase the circle as you get flexible.
Arms should be warmed up first because they are involved in all types of exercises. Arm circles are the best for warming up. Stand straight on shoulder-width. Now stretch your arms in the left and right direction. Move the arms in circles and repeat it 20 times.
Lunge with right leg first but do not extend the knee farther than the ankle. Repeat this five times for each leg. This stretch can help you warm up the core muscles, glutes, hamstrings, and waist.
Time Duration for Stretches
Different studies have been conducted to diagnose the duration that is most effective for the human body. According to the studies, static stretches are effective when each rep is held for 30 seconds. Increasing the time had no impact on the effectiveness of the stretch. The dynamic stretches need more time. Each rep must be held for 40-45 seconds. Note that holding time starts when you are in the stretching position not when you think about a position.
Nothing comes easily. It takes time for exercises to show results. Similarly, you have to wait to experience the effects of stretches. The results are visible after a month at least. After four weeks, you can experience the benefits.
Some Tips For Beginners
If you are a newbie in the exercise area, stretching should be added to the workout schedule from day one. Here are some tips for you.
- Do not rush into anything. Rigorous workout cannot be healthy for you. Slow and steady stretching will lead you to a better body.
- Do not think of holding the stretches for a long time. This will not improve your flexibility. Studies have proved 30 seconds to be effective for stretches. The rest of the time would be useless.
- Be consistent in your workout routine. Do not give up if you cannot experience a change for a few weeks.
- Visit a doctor immediately if the pain is unbearable for you. Neglecting it will not end well.
Exercises are an essential habit to adopt. They make your body flexible. Improving the workout routine requires stretches. They should be performed every day as recommended by a physician or trainer.
Doing stretches before a workout has the power to decrease the chances of getting injuries. Stretching can also help in shedding excessive weight! Additionally, your body becomes fitter and the ability to perform strenuous activities becomes higher!