Generally when thinking about fitness, we are automatically drawn to the concept of strength, endurance, speed and recovery. Flexibility however, is fundamental to overall performance and development, whatever the goal maybe.
There is a common misconception that static stretching should be completed before an activity, however stretching while the muscle is cold may result in injury. Instead you should do some dynamic exercises and warm the body up through mild exertion, before going into the main exercise.
When you have completed your activity, hold you stretches from between 30-45 seconds before releasing and then take the stretch a little further, repeat this 3 times. During the stretch you should only go to the point of mild discomfort. Always maintain a steady breathing pattern and avoid holding your breath, this will allow steady blood flow and will keep the oxygenated blood traveling throughout the body.
If you spend the majority of your day in a fairly sedentary position, for example sat in front of a computer, stretching will be greatly beneficial to you, in a variety of ways. You can increase blood flow and circulation. Regular stretching will also help decrease stress levels, reduce joint pain and muscle pain and improve bodily function and quality of life. The older you get the more you’ll thank the younger you for completing a regular stretching routine.
Toby King – Personal Trainer Cardiff.