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Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Stretching Techniques For All Levels

Stretching is something  that everyone can and also should be doing, regardless of your level of activity, experience or sport participation - It benefits the body in lots of ways!  At present when we are not allowed to be as active as we would normally be, it is important to keep the body limber and keep those muscles from shortening and tightening.  We may be in a seated position, more than normal:  We may not be able to get out for our walks etc. We may be doing garden activities for extended periods, as we have not much else to do and this can create tightness, that we may not be used to.  The stretches attached can be done by anyone and in many cases can be done standing or sitting, so no excuses for anyone.  The ones on the floor can also be done with a small bit of space and a towel or soft surface.

What type of Stretching:

1. Warming up for exercise should be done more dynamically and held for shorter times 8-10 seconds

2. Cooling Down after exercise should be done longer and less dynamically 10-15 seconds

3. General Stretching Programme is good for everyone and can be held for 10-15 seconds

4. Improving Flexibility needs to be done for longer periods up to 30 seconds

When to Stretch

The best time to stretch is last thing before you go to bed - as we normally lie down in a relaxed position and do not use the muscles for movement, so it allows the stretched muscle to stay longer for an extended period.  You may get relief and feel better by stretching in the morning, as it can set you up for the day.  Any stretching that you do will help the body to feel looser and more flexible, allowing us to move in a freer manner.  The secret to successful stretching is to add it into your daily routine and to stick with it.


How to Stretch

1. Never stretch into pain - if you feel sharp pain in either a joint or a muscle, you should stop immediately.  The discomfort from stretching a tight muscle is acceptable but it should never get to becoming a sharp pain.

2. Always wear loose fitting clothing and have a space suitable for completing all the exercises.

3. I like to start at the head and work my way down, but everyone is different and do what works best for you - all the standing ones first, sitting ones next and then the lying down ones.

4. Start at the suitable level and in the Videos I recommend holding for 10 seconds to get you started.  What you do on one side of the body, you complete on the second side too.

5. You may find that one side will be different or tighter than the other, and this is normal.  You may add in extra stretches to the tight side in order to re-balance the body.

6. When you become familiar with the Stretches, I would recommend that you hold the stretches for 10 seconds and to repeat them three times - The first time is to warm up the muscle, the second gets a bit of a stretch and then the third is where you get the best stretch - you can go further into the stretch on the third time (Remember never to stretch into pain)

7. Lastly, if you are doing a stretch and you do not feel any stretch or any benefit, then you probably do not need to do that one as you are not tight in that area.  Concentrate on the ones that you fell more difficult to complete or the ones that feel tight or restricted to complete - These are the ones that are most suitable for your body!

When looking on the Internet, there are many weird and wonderful looking ways to stretch or move or bodies - however we are all not built the same and what may be easy to one, may be nigh on impossible for the rest of us - so do common sense when Stretching and do not injure yourself.  Follow the instructions and concentrate on technique and doing the Stretch correctly, so that you will maximize the benefits gained by Stretching.