People might think that stretching exercises are only for athletes, yet never had a thought that it could be beneficial for everyone including kids, office-workers or even housewives. Stretching is also a form of physical exercise in which a specific muscle, muscle group or tendon is intentionally loosened or stretched to impose muscle elasticity and better muscle tone before performing certain activities or after exercise. The better control on muscles, increase of flexibility and range of motions are some factors that you’ll obtain for doing stretching exercises. Studies also confirm that stretching prevents or alleviates muscle cramps or pains. So, in these terms stretching is to avoid or prevent from any injuries and as well for performance enhancement.
There are two most common stretching exercises: dynamic and static stretching. Dynamic stretching which are highly recommended before any activities, such as training or sports, wherein it involves a low intensity movements that are closely related or resembles what the body does during the activities that will gradually increase as you reach into the point of stretch or the limitation of your range of motion without any bouncing or jerky movements performed. It is good to execute before because of the following factors: increases the heart rate, increase the body temperature and wake up the nervous system, which basically the brain will have to communicate or send signals to the muscles. To which it will decrease the tension from the muscles and soreness by elongating the muscle and increase the blood circulation that will help loosen up the stiffness from the joints as well, before undergoing to such vigorous activities.
Unlike static stretching which involves the body to be held in one place and just reach for the point of tension then hold for a few seconds to a few minutes. This is best performed after activities, which is good for cooling down the muscles and still for the same premise of good circulation and avoiding too much tension on muscles and soreness.
Stretching may be done in a minimum of 2 days per week, but is best if done every day. The over-all principle for stretching is to prevent injuries and performance enhancement not just for sports but also for day to day living.
Monica Laine DG. Gonzales, PTRP