However, just because we have come to the end of our stretching blog doesn’t mean we intend to leave you high and dry … now that we have you all stretching, we thought we would help you all strengthen your core abdominal muscles through our new weekly blog. Flexibility is only 1 aspect of the battle for optimal wellbeing – Core strength and stability goes hand-in-hand with flexibility to help you feel as great as you can and avoid niggly aches and pains. Keep following next week as Kim starts the new direction for our weekly blog focussed on core strength.
And so, to sum up and cover off for stretching, this week’s post is not about a sport or a specific stretch but a recap on the general benefits of stretching, safety tips for static and PNF stretching, and how stretching before participating in sport is quite an important part of your warm-up.
Stretching stimulates local circulation which increases the bloods ability to remove metabolic waste from, and deliver oxygen and nutrition to, your muscles. This helps keep your muscles and soft tissues supple and healthy which in turn helps you do the things you do all day, every day and live a happier, healthier, easier life. Stretching will help to prevent injury both in sport & physical exercise as well as in the activities of everyday life.
Static stretching tends to focus more on individual muscles or smaller muscle groups, and is done without activating other muscles or movement. Static stretches are quick and easy to do regularly.
Always remember these important safety tips when stretching:
· Use a wide stance to maintain balance and stability.
· Keep spine lengthened.
· Avoid unnecessary twisting or bending whilst stretching.
· STOP immediately if there is pain.
· An effective stretch session will involve completing each stretch about 3 times.
· Never stretch an injury, or damaged muscles, tendons, etc.
· Warm-up prior to stretching.
· Stretch before and after exercise or heavy physical activity.
· Breathe slowly and easily during the stretches.
· Stretch only to the point of tension - never 'bounce' or apply ballistic aspects to your stretches.
· Stretch all major muscles, and their opposing muscles, gently and slowly.
As we know PNF stands for Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation and this style of stretching is more complex than static stretching while also being a highly effective physical therapy technique. It’s a method of using isometric contractions prior to the stretch to achieve greater results, and is generally done with the help of a partner. Facilitated stretching can dramatically increase muscle flexibility quickly, primarily because of the use of several built-in neurological mechanisms to optimize the muscles own lengthening ability. Facilitated stretches have safety procedures that do need to be observed for the stretcher and partner to remain safe. Correct posture and paying attention to your body mechanisms will help eliminate the possibility of injury.
Thanks for following the stretching blog, and we hope you will follow us through our strengthening blog too … see you all next week!