Although there is continued debate about the format and effectiveness of stretching, the general consensus is that, not only does stretching during a warm-up increase blood flow and oxygen to the muscles making them ready for activity; but if done correctly, it will reduce injury. The debate mostly centers on whether stretches should be done on cold or warm muscles. It’s a bit of “chicken and egg” scenario because cold muscles don’t stretch easily, therefore may be injured in the stretching process. But, in order to warm up the muscles to stretch, you need to activate the muscles with some form of exercise which could injure the muscles because they haven’t been stretched! So, our recommendation is to start off gently.
Depending on the exercise you are warming up for, you might want to start off with five minutes of a low level of activity related to the exercise to warm up your muscles first; for example, we advise a gentle jog to get your heart pumping before a run. Once your muscles are warm, you need to perform a number of stretches to help avoid injury. Static stretches are the most commonly used type of stretches. Once we show you the correct form, you will be able to do these on your own before you exercise.
Each muscle group should be stretched individually. Some people prefer to work from the top down and others prefer to work from the feet upward. Either way, you should stretch each of the following areas: neck and shoulders, arms, chest and waist, hips, groin and lower back, quadriceps and hamstrings, calves, front of legs and ankles. We want you to feel the full benefit of each stretch, so we will encourage you to hold each stretch for around 10 to 15 seconds.Click here for info: sheffield city centre gyms
We also like to promote the benefits of post-exercise stretching because this is equally as important as stretching before exercise, but for different reasons. As your muscles, soft tissues and joints are warm after exercise; this is an ideal time to use stretching to increase your flexibility. However, without stretching, you will suffer from a tightening of your muscles. In the short term, this will cause stiffness and discomfort for a couple of days. Lack of post-exercise stretching in the long-term will result in shorter, bulkier looking muscles that are more prone to injury because they don’t stretch easily. Another benefit of post-exercise stretching that is not often discussed is that of mental relaxation. Research has shown this to be a true consequence and we believe it can also be a time for meditation and spiritual growth. Many health practitioners agree that if you stretch thoroughly, you will promote relaxation and reduce stress.