Whether you are a competitive athlete or just wanting to get fitter, stretching is important. As we get older, the fascia that coats our muscles- think of the white layer over the meat- starts to contract.
If we do not stretch and/or get massages, this leads to contraction of muscles and the typical stooped over appearance of an elderly person who has not stretched.
Excellent ways to lengthen your muscles are yoga, pilates or Tai Chi. However if you only have 5-10 minutes to spare a day, stretching can be done at home. Here are a few pointers for safe, effective stretching:
The best stretching results come from slow, sustained stretches that are well within our comfort zones. Otherwise muscles contract automatically to protect themselves so no lengthening occurs.
The safest stretches are held for 20- 30 seconds.
Breathe easily and slowly during stretching
It is best to exercise for 5 minutes – such as walking or gentle jogging- before stretching to get our bodies warmed up and the blood pumped around our bodies.
It is best to stretch all the main muscles groups in the body during your routine.
It can take up to 3 months to see results- but be consistent and they will come!
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