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What is Stretching?


Stretching is a type of physical activity that involves situating a body element in order to outstretch and lengthen a muscle or muscle group, improving its flexibility and elasticity.



Two types of stretches:


  • Static stretches: Stretches that you hold in place for a while — generally 20 to 60 seconds — are pertained to as static stretching. Once your muscles are warmed up and relaxed after your drill, you should perform static stretching.

  • Dynamic stretches: Dynamic stretching, on the other hand, calls for motions that are active. This form of stretch allows your muscles and joints to fully extend their range of motion. Dynamic stretching is sometimes done before an exercise to help warm up your muscles and raise your heart rate.



The combined effect of stretching


Being completely flexible won't happen after only one stretching session. You might not be completely flexible because it may have taken you several months to develop tight muscles, says physical therapist David Nolan of Massachusetts General Hospital. It will take a few months to become flexible.


Importance of stretching before exercise


  • A rise in blood flow - Your blood flow can be increased by stretching first. More blood flow to your muscles helps them get ready for strenuous activity.

  • Increased range of motion and flexibility - Your muscles and tendons will loosen up if you stretch properly. By doing this, you'll increase your flexibility and range of motion when exercising.

  • Enhanced performance - Stretching beforehand will improve overall performance because it will increase blood flow, suppleness, and range of motion.


Here are some pre-workout stretching exercises:

1. Donkey Kick

Warm up your core, shoulders, and glutes with donkey kicks.

  • Start on all fours with your core tightened, your wrists under your shoulders, and your knees under your hips.

  • Kick your right leg up toward the ceiling while keeping your right foot contracted and your knee bent. At the peak, pause. Make sure to maintain neutral spinal alignment and prevent any arching if you experience this in your lower back.

  • For one rep, bring your right knee back to the ground.

  • On one leg, complete five slow, controlled reps. On the opposite side, repeat.



2. Bird- Dog crunch

  • Start in a tabletop position on your hands and knees, stacking your wrists under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.

  • Extend your left arm forward and right leg back while keeping your back straight and your hips parallel to the floor. Think about slapping your foot against the wall in the back of you.

  • Squeeze your abs and align your body's midsection by bringing your right knee and left elbow together.

  • Then, reverse the motion and stretch your arm and leg once again. Throughout the exercise, keep your right foot flexed. One rep equals this.

  • Perform three gradual, controlled repetitions on each side, holding the arm and leg extensions for an optional five seconds.




3. Down Dog to Runner’s Lunge

  • Begin on your hands and knees, with your knees under your hips and your hands piled under your shoulders.

  • Spread your hands out and press your index finger and thumb into the ground.

  • Lift your tailbone and push your butt up and back to draw your hips up toward the ceiling. Straighten your legs as much as you can and gently plant your heels. Your knees should be facing you, and your head and back should be flat.

  • After pausing, shift your weight forward into a plank position by stepping your right foot outside of your right hand.

  • You can get into a low lunge position by elevating your torso. Squeeze your glutes to increase the hip stretch in your back leg. This is one rep.

  • Switch sides after three slow, controlled repetitions.



Importance of stretching after exercise


Stretching after an exercise can increase your flexibility, reduce your risk of injury, and relieve any tension in your muscles. You might even perform better the next time you work out with its assistance. There are 3 important reasons why stretching is beneficial after a workout:


  • Stretching enhances heart function because it increases blood flow, which has numerous positive effects on your health. But once your activity is complete, it's as crucial to return your heart rate to normal. Correct stretching will aid in a healthy recovery of your heart rate to normal.

  • Stretching Reduces Lactic Acid - When you exercise, your body produces lactic acid, which leads to aching, sore muscles. Stretching can aid in lowering lactic acid buildup throughout the body. Additionally, it eases stiff muscles.

  • Stretching Reduces Strain on Muscles and Joints - Proper stretching can reduce the strain on your muscles and joints. Your muscles will remain toned and flexible as a result. In the end, this will lower the possibility of injury following exercise.


Here are some post-workout stretching exercises:

Try to concentrate on the muscles you utilized during your workout when you stretch afterward.

1. Lunging hip flexor stretch

Your gluteal, quadriceps, and hip muscles are the target of this stretch.

  • Get to your left knee and kneel. Your right knee should stay bent, and your right foot should rest flat on the floor in front of you.

  • Leaning forward, extend your left hip toward the floor.

  • After holding the stretch for 30 to 60 seconds, switch legs and repeat on the other side.



2. Piriformis stretch

This stretch concentrates on the piriformis muscle, which runs from the base of your spine to the thigh bone. This muscle can affect your range of motion in your buttocks, legs, back, and hips.

  • Start by sitting on the ground and extending your legs in front of you.

  • Lift your left leg and rest your left ankle on your right knee while keeping your right leg level on the ground.

  • Lean forward and slightly arch your back till you feel a stretch in your buttocks. Repeat this stretch with your right leg on your left knee, holding it for 30 seconds.

  • Repeat once or twice, switching the legs.





3. Cat-Cow stretch

The back muscles are the core of this stretch.

  • Begin by getting down on all fours and keeping your spine neutral and relaxed.

  • Pushing your chest upward and letting your tummy fall toward the floor, inhale.

  • Raising your head and allowing your shoulders to drop, exhale.

  • Along with rounding your spine forward, you should also tuck in your tailbone and press your pubic bone forward.

  • Continue while allowing your head to sag toward the floor. If you can, repeat this numerous times within a minute.



4. Overhead triceps stretch

This stretch targets your triceps and shoulder muscles.

  • Standing with your feet hip-width apart will help you relax any tension. Roll your shoulders back and down.

  • As you raise your right arm toward the sky, bend it at the elbow and bring your right palm down toward the middle of your back.

  • Raise your left hand and gently pull your right elbow down.

  • Before switching arms, hold this stretch for 20 to 30 seconds.

  • On each side, repeat two or three times, attempting to achieve a deeper stretch each time.



5. Standing biceps stretch

This stretch addresses the muscles in your chest and shoulders as well as your biceps.

  • Remain upright. At the base of your spine, interlace your hands by placing them behind your back.

  • Turn your hands so the palms are facing down and extend your arms straight.

  • When your shoulders and biceps begin to feel strained, raise your arms as high as you can.

  • Maintain this stretch for 30 to 40 seconds.

  • Repeat it three or twice.





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