Stretching is an important aspect of most sports and strenuous physical activities. Typically, a specific muscle group is targeted during each stretching maneuver with the aim of improving elasticity and muscle tone. When properly â€œstretched outâ€, one will feel increased flexibility, muscle control, and a wider range of motion.
Most people stretch as an instinctive activity, such as during a yawn, to release tension in the neck, or to help relieve aching muscles. A common practice is to have a stretch after waking up in the morning or after a nap. Another reason people find themselves stretching is after being in a confined space or being in an awkward position for a given period of time.
Stretch Before Physical Workout
For athletes and people who enjoy physical activities, stretching is considered a basic tenet of their overall fitness. Without properly stretching oneâ€™s muscles, the body is more prone to injury, such as a pulled muscle or worse. The proper technique for stretching usually consists of one or more â€œwarm-upâ€ exercises, such as a light jog, jumping jacks, or jump roping. Without properly warming up the muscle(s), the body will feel tight and wonâ€™t be as elastic.
Dangers of Stretching
Keep in mind that when done incorrectly, stretching can be dangerous, causing a great deal of pain. Almost every muscle in the body can be stretched using a variety of techniques, proper knowledge will help the practitioner to stretch more effectively and prevent any detrimental damage to tendons, muscle fibers, and ligaments.
If you are inexperienced at how to stretch your muscles in the right manner, talk to a friend or colleague who you know plays sports or engages is a physical activity, such as martial arts, to help give you some pointers. If you havenâ€™t stretched a certain muscle group for a while, be sure to build the elasticity in your muscles before attempting to overstretch.