While some studies about stretching gave contradicting results, other researches show that stretching contra-indications are mostly due to incorrect techniques. Generally, stretching has been found beneficial by mobility and strength training experts but majority agree that stretching programs are not one-type-fits-all.
An extensive study about stretching that aims to lengthen the muscles and to reduce soreness after a sprint run, can even worsen the next performance. What most fitness experts believe is that the bottom line in all these studies suggest that stretching should not be overused.
The Importance of Knowing When to Stretch with Caution
First off, it’s always important to discuss with your doctor, or your physical therapist about your plans to include rigorous workouts and exercises in your daily routine. The discussion will of course include proper stretching techniques that others prefer to call warm up exercises.
However, many have the misconception that as warm ups they are best for cold muscles as well. Obviously cold muscles are stiff, rigid and will require warming up in the form of light exercise like walking, jogging or biking for about 5 to 10 minutes. Doing so will allow stretching to gradually and gently lengthen the muscle instead of straining to the point of damaging the muscle tissues.
Besides, if you have a chronic health disorder or have an existing injury, a physical therapist will see to it that your exercise and stretching regimen are adjusted accordingly. Bear in mind that stretching even if less rigorous than exercises, can also injure, especially if the muscles are already strained from too much physical activity.
Some Pointers on How to Keep Stretching Exercises Safe
When about to adopt stretching techniques as part of your workouts, bear some of these pointers in mind in order to keep stretching safe.
When about to engage in an intense form of track and field activity, consider skipping with the pre-event stretching. Several researches have come up with proof that doing so could actually weaken the hamstring and affect a runner’s performance.
Based on scientific studies, individuals have varying genetics for flexibility. The reason why some are flexible enough to be able to execute difficult dance steps or gymnastic positions, is because they have achieved flexibility on both sides. This denotes that the major muscle groups that they use for their physical activities, such as those in the neck, shoulders. hips, lower back, calves and thighs have symmetry in terms of flexibility, or can stretch in more or less the same length on both sides.
Avoid bouncing when stretching as doing so can be injurious to your muscle. Bouncing can cause the muscle to tighten up rather than loosen.
Make it a point to always stretch the muscles and joints you regularly use in your everyday life.
Breathe normally when stretching and without aiming to feel pain. Just hold each stretch for about 30 seconds, or up to 60 seconds when stretching a problem area.
Now you may have heard and read about a stretching program called the Hyperbolic stretch, which has been garnering a lot of positive reviews. After reading the pointers given above, it would be best to ⁶so you’ll know what to discuss with your doctor or your physical therapist.