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  • Carol Michaels


Stretching is one of the basic components of fitness. The goal is to improve your range of motion, which is the degree of movement that can be achieved without pain. Elongating the muscle and fascia by stretching improves circulation, increases elasticity of the muscle, increases oxygen to the muscles, and helps the body to repair. Stretching regularly improves your posture, and improves flexibility, which is the range of motion at a joint or group of joints. It increases the circulation of blood to the muscles and prevents tight muscles, which have less blood flow. The blood carries oxygen that the muscle needs for energy. Blood flow also removes lactic acid and carbon dioxide, which cause inflammation.

Stretching, especially active or dynamic stretching, helps you to get ready for any physical activity. Examples of dynamic stretches are walking lunges, squats, and arm circles. Dynamic stretching acts as a warm-up to reduce injuries, get the muscles warm, and improve performance. Being flexible helps generate speed and power. Stretching improves movement patterns and decreases the chance of developing over-use injuries and increases feelings of well-being because you are able to perform your daily activities more easily and with less pain.

A few tips:

§ Before stretching, you should warm up. Stretching is more effective when warm, as your muscles and tendons are easier to lengthen.

§ The brain and nervous system work together in every stretch, and every repetition causes neuromuscular education. By thinking about the movement and concentrating on the affected muscle, we rewire the injured or tight muscle. Be mindful of the movement and its purpose.

§ Slowly lengthen the muscle to a comfortable length while using relaxation breathing .All movements should be done slowly and with great concentration. Try to reach the maximum pain-free range of motion possible for you. Do the stretches slowly and allow the tissue to lengthen. Hold the stretch until you feel a little tension, but not to the point of pain.

§ The stretches should feel good. Hold the stretch until you feel tension. As you hold the stretch the muscle will relax and you will be able to increase the stretch. Each day it will get easier and you will see your flexibility improve.

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