Stretching Body Exercises : Stretch All You Can
Nowadays, we have become so absorbed in various forms of technology, taking out time for simple exercises like stretching has become like a pain in itself. Stretching is a natural & instinctive act done while waking up from sleep or after being in a similar position for a long time like while sitting in front of television or computer. Stretching is a form of physical exercise which ends up elongating several muscles of your body increasing its elasticity; thus, making your body more flexible. Why do you think stretching is given so much importance & practiced by dancers, athletes, celebrities etc. as a part of their training session? If you see behind the scenes of any dance show, you will notice the choreographers warm up all the dancers by making them do various stretching exercises to improve the flexibility of these dancers.
But that does not mean that only dancers or other professionals should practice stretching regularly. The other day itself I was appalled seeing a youngster facing difficulty bending down to tie his shoes. He had to place his foot on the steps of a public staircase to tie them as it was on a higher level compared to the ground. I somehow nerved myself up & went up to him to ask why did he do so knowing the answer already but wanting to hear it from him. He said his knees gave up as they started paining when he bent down. Such instances are quite common in our society but how many of us have given thought to why they occur. The reason is pretty clear when you don’t stretch, the muscles of your body become rigid leading to pain when you try to stretch.
Benefits of stretching are much more than just making your body flexible. It also reduces the risk of injuries to a great extent further preventing the lower back pain which most of us suffer from (assuming from the increased sales of Moov!!). It also improves posture & circulation of blood to various parts of the body. It is said to be good for the heart as it lowers blood pressure. It also helps in developing good balancing skills; no wonder ballet dancers dance so skillfully just on the tips of their toes. Muscles are mostly rigid or tensed due to stress, so stretching is a great stress reliever. Thus, leading to a feeling of relaxation & improving the general well being of a person.
These are some great stretching exercises you can start with:-
Here are some general useful tips to stretch safely & properly:-
- Stretching in itself is a great warm up exercise. However if you are new to stretching it would be beneficial to warm up with other easier exercises like jogging, jumping etc for 10-15 mins prior to stretching.
- Avoid stretching injured or cold muscles. It will just end up causing more harm than good for your body.
- Make stretching as a part of your warm up routine before & after your work out session (as it prevents the muscles of any soreness) if you meditate or work out on a regular basis.
- Try to have a good control over your stretch. Maintain leverage in your stretch meaning don’t make fast & sharp stretches. Stretch very slowly & smoothly and then hold your stretch for a good 10 to 15 seconds as farther as you can, making sure you don’t injure yourself by tearing a muscle.
- Stop stretching as soon as it starts paining from pressurizing any muscles or joints.
- 6) Not many people are comfortable stretching without any support initially. You can either use the help of a person or you can use help of the various stretching equipments available in the market or best use some of the stretching items available in your house itself like the support your wall, a strong wooden cupboard or table or just big firm stacked pillows !!
- 7) Don’t expect your body to miraculously become flexible overnight. Give in your best & hopefully your results achieved will be no less than the best!!
There are numerous amounts of myths & controversies regarding whether stretching is really good for one’s body or not. Shun out all that is being said & believe me stretching really works. Atleast for me it did. I am a very lazy person & hate doing almost any form of exercise or workout. But I make sure to stretch often (as I love dancing & it serves a good purpose of a dancing workout) I do notice a slight change in the flexibility of my body but most importantly it makes me feel so good from inside. My advice to all – If you want to be stress free, never think of becoming stretch free!!