If you want to get more fit or try to lose some weight, the first point of call is your diet. You decide what you should cut back on and what you should add to your diet to achieve your goals. The second thing that you will probably consider is a good exercise program. In most people views a good exercise program will initially consist of some type of cardio exercise. After this some people may try to incorporate some sort of weight training regime.
An essential part of any exercise program is often ignored by most people. This essential part is stretching. Some people may go through the motions with a couple of minutes of stretching before a workout, but most people do not realize the wonderful benefits that stretching can give them. Stretching along with cardio and weight training should be considered as being a vital part of any exercise program.
The first thing to remember is that you should always have a good warm up before stretching. This is because a warm muscle is always going to be more flexible than a cold one, and this will avoid the risk of any injury. The second thing is to make sure that you do not push too far when stretching. Always go to the point where you can feel the pull and not to the point where it becomes painful.
As children we are naturally pretty flexible but this changes as we get older. Our muscles begin to get tighter and this is why it is so easy to pull a muscle, or often wake up in the mornings feeling sore and stiff if we haven’t slept with a good posture. As children the bulk of our world consists of physical play. We run around and move about in ways that stretch our bodies. When we get older all this stops. You rarely hear of children complaining of back pain or pulled hamstrings.
You should have a good stretching program consisting of 10 to 15 minutes. You will get most value from stretching if you do it after your normal workout. The benefits of stretching are many, and here are just a few:
When you exercise you are basically stressing your muscles. It is this stress that is going to make your muscles stronger or give you muscles endurance. Stretching after a workout is going to reduce the stress on your muscles because stretching will allow your blood to reach the stressed muscles more quickly, and it is your blood that carries the nutrients that are going to repair you. You will have less soreness in your muscles the day after a workout, allowing them to recover more quickly.
Stretching will improve your posture. It will make your body feel more comfortable. This will be noticeable in the way you stand and the way you move around. Good posture is extremely important for good physical health. After all it is bad posture that will end up giving you muscular problems in the long term.
Stretching will improve your daily life and allow you to perform tasks with more ease. It helps movement and you can improve everyday things such as bending, leaning, and carrying. How many times have you pulled a muscle or tweaked something after picking something up and ended up holding your back? How many times have you turned or moved suddenly and felt a stab of pain? This is because your muscles are tight and therefore not prepared for the particular movement, and end up being injured. Stretching will reduce the chances of this happening.
Do not ignore or downplay the importance of stretching. Incorporate stretching into your exercise program and it will give you benefits which will make you physically fitter, help you avoid injuries, and basically increase the quality of your life on a day to day basis. Do not underestimate the great benefits of stretching.