Wednesday, June 18, 2008

What is Stretching?

After i had discussed about warming up, stretching will be my next topic.

What is Stretching?

The purpose of stretching is to lengthen muscle and tendon tissue and to increase the range of movement at a joint. Without stretching, muscles will gradually lose their flexibility and may fail to respond effectively during sporting activity. Stretching before an exercise session prepares the participant both physically as well as mentally for the activity ahead.

Stretching achieves the:

-reduces muscle tension and makes the body feel more relaxed
-helps co-ordination by allowing for free and easy movement
-develops body awareness
-reduces the likelihood of injures such as muscle strain
-promotes circulation
-make strenuous exercises activities easier b'cos it prepares you for the activity.

When to stretch?

Like i had mention in the previous Warm up or Stretching first topic, stretching activity should only be performed once the muscles have been warmed. The increase in muscle temperature improves the "stretch-ability" of the muscles. Stretching of cold muscles is much less effective and may cause injury to muscle tissue such as strains or muscle tears.

How to stretch?

Stretching refers to performing activities which lengthen the muscle and tendon fibres.This is done by positioning the body in such a way that the muscle to be stretched is elongated to the point of discomfort and not pain.

Stretching should be performed as preparation for every training session.Adherence to a regular stretching routine will ensure range of movement and flexibility of joints is maintained.

Stretching exercise should also be performed at the end of every workout while the muscles are still warm. This will reduce muscle soreness and maintain maximum flexibility. Stretching before an workout is to prepare for the session while stretching at the end of the workout is to improve flexibility.

Rules for Safe stretching

-Warm up before stretching
-stretch before and after exercise
-stretch alternate muscle groups
-stretch gently and slowly, never bounce or stretch rapidly
-stretches should be held for a minimum of 15 seconds
-stretch to the point of discomfort and not pain. Avoid over-stretching by not stretching past the point of pain
-do not hold your breath when stretching, breathing should be slow and easy
-stretch each of the major muscle groups required for the performance in the sport
-precede all training session with 10 - 15 minutes of stretching
-follow each training session with stretching

You can refer to this link for illustrations on stretching.

1 comment:

Victor said...

For those confused by opposing suggestions to stretch or not to stretch before a game, this page help

To stretch or not to stretch before an event?