In difficult times (and in general) it is very important to take care of yourself – of your mental state and, of course, of your body. Learn how to do it with the help of stretching.
Why do you need stretching?
The positive effects that stretching has on the body can be listed almost endlessly.
Immediately after the session, the state of health and mood improves, one feels lightness and self-confidence. With regular training, the metabolism gets activated, one loses weight, endurance and coordination of movements improve, discomfort and stiffness in the muscles disappear.
In addition, stretching helps to recover from stressful situations and teaches you to immerse yourself no worse than meditation. But the main advantage of stretching is that the exercises are accessible to most people, regardless of sports skills.
Who should try stretching:
- those who regularly and actively go in for sports: runners, swimmers and triathletes;
- those who go to the gym;
- those who are just about to start their sports career: exercises will prepare the joints and ligaments and help prevent primary injuries ( learn more about dynamic stretching for beginners here )
It is better to postpone classes if …
- you have problems with joints and ligaments;
- you have pathologies of the spine, arthritis, osteoporosis, hernia or thrombosis;
- you have recently suffered a serious injury
How often to practice
Beginners should start slow and stretch for about 15 minutes a day so that this sport becomes a habit. Trained athletes can immediately switch to group training, which lasts about 60 minutes.
To feel the benefits of stretching, including the long-term ones, it is better to exercise at least twice a week.
How to prepare
Stretching represents a complete workout, so before you start, you need to warm up the whole body. A brisk walk on the treadmill for 5-10 minutes and an intense 20-minute warm-up for joint mobility until you sweat lightly are ideal.
Warming up increases the speed of metabolic processes, the volume of circulating blood and joint fluid, making the joints more mobile. All this makes the stretching process easier, and also increases the effectiveness of the workout and reduces the risk of injury.
There is an opinion to take a hot shower or go to the sauna before the workout – supposedly, this way, the exercises are easier to perform. In fact, this is a myth – only a high-quality warm-up can prepare the body for this kind of stress (but a warm bath after a workout will help you recover faster).
The most common mistakes in the development of body flexibility
It is quite difficult for beginner athletes with little training experience to figure out all the intricacies of stretching exercises on their own. At the same time, many do not even suspect that its improper conduct can result in negative consequences in the form of damage to the tendons and the appearance of issues with maintaining balance. Therefore, when stretching, try not to make the mistakes described below.
Too deep stretching of muscles and joints
Excessive stretching of the spinal muscle, multiaxial joints (shoulder, hip, etc.) can lead to the impossibility of the body to provide additional weight retention. Conducting high-intensity training in this case is generally prohibited: you can get injured on a “loose” joint.
Sharp movements during stretching
This mistake is very often made by girls who want to quickly sit on the twine. Exercises to develop flexibility even with small pushes and jerks can provoke the formation of micro-tears in the muscle fibers. Therefore, when stretching, it is extremely important to maintain a leisurely pace of exercise and move as smoothly as possible. Do not forget that the key to proper muscle stretching is gradualness. Therefore, allow them to fully recover, and do not try to achieve good results in little time, while neglecting the health of the ligaments and joints.
With the goal of making your body more flexible and plastic, work on developing the elasticity of the muscles, not the ligaments. Pay close attention to your exercise technique to ensure maximum performance and safety, and follow these tips:
In order to reduce the intensity of physical activity aimed at the ligaments, slightly bend your knees while stretching the muscles of the legs.
Sitting on the transverse twine, try to turn your toes upwards. This will help reduce the stress on the ankle joints.
If stretching is accompanied by pain, check the technique of the exercise. The cause of pain may also be the too high intensity of the load, which has an excessive effect on unprepared muscles, ligaments, joints. The way out of this situation is to select a simpler set of exercises that suits you at the current stage of flexibility development.
Not letting the body regenerate
After a workout of any kind, the muscles need rest. Too frequent stretching of the muscles (2 or more times a day) is fraught with damage to them, which will negate the results already achieved. At the same time, you should not delay the rest period for more than 3 days, otherwise, the effect of the workouts will be minimal. Thus, the best option for beginner athletes is to stretch three times a week for 30-50 minutes.
If you’re stretching to improve your overall fitness level, doing it within 10-15 minutes after your main workout is enough. And don’t forget about your oversized chair in the corner of the room, rest is important.
Frivolous attitude towards classes
It is unrealistic to achieve good sports results with a frivolous attitude to the classes. Plan your time in such a way that you can regularly do training for the development of plasticity and flexibility, and strictly follow the schedule. Be patient and do not shorten the duration of the scheduled classes.
Lack of awareness of why stretching is needed
As mentioned earlier, many women and girls want to eventually sit on the twine. However, few people know how much time and effort it takes to achieve this goal. Therefore, before you start serious work on stretching your muscles, think carefully: is it really necessary for you to be able to sit on a twine if you have nothing to do with gymnastics in general?
Improper balance when doing stretching exercises
Remember that you can not stretch the muscles of only one part of the body. So, pulling the muscles of the left leg, you must repeat the same with the right. After stretching the abdominal muscles, pay the same amount of attention to the back muscles.
What to take for training
Studios usually have their own mats, but it’s best to bring your own, which you’re used to. Yoga mats are suitable, what cannot be said about tourist mats: they will slide over the surface and interfere with proper exercise.
It is also better to buy a special sports bottle – both convenient and environmentally friendly.
Last but not least, acquire a set of clothing that won’t restrain your movement and be elastic enough so it won’t rip in the wrong place, at the wrong time :D.