When and Why to Stretch

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There are 5 main reasons why a healthy, uninjured person needs to stretch:

1. Included as a part of a warm up routine

    • helps prepare a muscle for vigorous activity
    • helps decrease the likelihood of injury
    • helps maximize quick start anaerobic performance

Hold positions for 30 seconds.

2. To “flush” a muscle of metabolic by-products after intense exercise:

    • helps relieve “the burn”
    • helps refresh the muscle for the next bout of activity (for example, between sets during weight training or after a sprint or when doing repeated bouts of work)

Hold positions for 20-30 seconds.

3. As part of a “cool down” (A.K.A. “warm down”) period after exercise

    • helps aid in returning blood flow to the trunk (thoracic area) of the body, away from the legs and arms
    • helps prevent pooling of blood in the legs, which can lead to discomfort and possibly over time varicose veins

Hold positions for 30 seconds to one minute.

4. To increase your flexibility by changing the maximal length and resting state of a given muscle or muscle groups

  • helps promotes efficiency of movement while decreasing the likelihood of injury
  • When properly directed, this type of flexibility work is an important element of a structural realignment program

Hold positions for 2 to 5 minutes.

5. To gain self-awareness

  • helps induce a meditative or contemplative state
  • helps one gain awareness of the subtle changes one’s body is capable of

Hold positions for 2 to 5 minutes.

How to Stretch

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