The Benefits of Stretching Exercises

Stretching can have many benefits when it comes to your muscles, and while it does not always prevent injuries from happening, it can certainly help as stretching can prepare and warm up your muscles before any sort of training.

Even though research doesn’t necessarily point towards the concept of stretching being essential, there is no harm in it either. Stretching exercises are thought to improve flexibility and increase your range of movement, and it can reduce muscle soreness after exercise. This is because stretching can increase the blood and nutrient supply to your muscles. You are likely to lose flexibility gradually if you stop stretching, usually after about 4 weeks.

Why flexibility is important

Flexibility is known as the ability to move your arms and legs freely without restrictions and pain. If you are inflexible, you are more likely to pull a muscle through exercise. Stretching can help increase your range of movement in this way, particularly if you are doing this by mimicking the movements of the sport you are able to play.

Warm muscles generally work more efficiently and are less stiff. By warming up through a set of movements you will enable an increased blood flow, which provides more oxygen for your muscles.

Types of stretching exercises

There are four main groups of stretches, which include static, dynamic, ballistic and PNF (proprioceptive muscular facilitation). Each are slightly different and enable your muscles to stretch successfully either before or after exercise.

Static stretching is the name given when you place your muscle in a maximal position and hold it for a period of time, while your body is at rest. For example, bringing your foot up and behind you to stretch your quadriceps.

A dynamic stretch is while some sort of movement is occurring, utilising momentum. This involves any sort of twist, rotation or swing; such as a lunge with a twist or bending from side to side.

The group of stretching exercises known as PNF are strengthening techniques that contract the muscle and then stretch it further. For example, getting a partner to push your leg close to your chest to stretch it out as much as possible.

Finally, ballistic is the name given to stretches that use a bouncing motion to force the area beyond its normal range of movement. This causes repetitive contractions of the muscle, such as reaching down to your toes with a slight bouncing movement.

Of course, if you do incur an injury from any sort of exercise or you wish to see a physiotherapist, get in touch with us today!