What is that you ask?
The 3 disciplines in the fitness world are STRENGTH, STAMINA and ……SUPPLENESS. Obviously strength is in reaction to muscle strength, stamina in relation to cardio and, suppleness is in relation to stretching, mobility and, flexibility. Amongst the health and fitness conscious in today's society it seems to be all about lifting heavy weights or running as fast or as far as you can. There is a small percentage who attends Yoga or Pilates sessions but, honestly how many people do you know really take the time to stretch after exercising?
Why is it important you ask?
Some say there is mixed views about the benefits of stretching/mobility/flexibility and more research is required however, stretching increases blood flow to the muscles and can help improve flexibility. Better flexibility can indeed improve the physical performance for some, or decrease the risk of injury for others due to helping joints move through their full range of motion. Muscles that move through their full range of motion work far more effectively. It is stated in many documents the regular stretching is something the body relies on but it does not happen enough.
Other benefits include:
- Improved circulation
- Assists in better coordination and muscle control
- Injury recovery
- Increased power and elasticity of muscles
- Increased length of relaxed muscle
- Improved posture
- Increased endurance and metabolism
- Relieves stress
IT FEELS GOOD!!!
Top 10 stretching tips:
- Always warm-up - be as hot as you can as warm muscles stretch better
- Choose positions that allow for muscle relaxation and consider individual differences such as a person's ability to balance, and injuries
- Move slowly and gently into the stretch to reduce the effect of the stretch reflex
- Always aim for good body alignment (e.g., spine)
- Avoid stressing the joint (e.g., avoid knee angles less than 90 degrees with load)
- Stretch to a point of tension or discomfort, not pain
- Avoid bouncing - hold the stretch for at least 10-30 seconds and feel the tension ease then gently increase the stretch
- Breathe and try to relax
- Perform each stretch at least twice
- Aim to stretch every second day and after every workout
Stretching, mobility or flexibility exercises do not need to be complex or difficult; they just need to be done after each exercise session you do.
Be it a regular Pilates or Yoga class, your own stretching regime or, participating in the Revive Group Training Session conducted at Vision Personal Training Studios it is a discipline that is important for your body. You fuel your car with premium petrol, you service it regularly to keep it running well, doesn't your body deserve the same treatment?
By Julie Graham
Personal Trainer*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.