Stretching can have an incredible impact on a person’s overall health. It can prevent injuries, increase recovery and enhance overall performance. Stretching bridges the gap between health and fitness.
Stretching is a different form of exercise that can lead to an increase in flexibility. Regular physical exercise not only burns calories in the moment, but it also increases the heart rate so you burn calories even after you have finished. Stretching helps in more ways to support a healthy body and weight. Stretching is often called “flexibility exercise” and it should be done daily. It keeps the muscles flexible, strong and healthy so you can maintain a range of motion in the joints. If the muscles become shortened, tight and weak, when you need them for the activity, they are unable to extend all the way. This leaves you with risk for strains, joint pain, and muscle damage. Regular stretching will keep your muscles lean, long, and flexible to help you with balance, thus avoiding falls. The goal of achieving an optimal active range of motion is achieved by the muscle’s nervous tension called “tonus”. It is not to enable you to move, but to enable you to be more flexible or elastic and to move more functionally. Stretching does this by re-educating the associated nerve-muscle reflex. By changing and re-educating the associated nerve-muscle reflex, it leads to movement becoming easier and more efficient. The nervous energy, known as the stretch reflex, is our bodies automatic defense against the dangers of overstretching. Any movement that goes to fast or too far, or is held for too long will cause your body to resist with the stretch reflex. Once the reflex is activated your body has effectively said “no more” and resists the stretch. Any further attempt at stretching becomes counterproductive and may cause long term damage.
When your body is correctly stabilized fear is reduced. Your body is better able to relax and allow for the full stretch. It’s like a car seatbelt works. If pulled too quickly, the belt locks. If the belt is forced at this point, you are just stretching the material itself and this is where an injury occurs. However, if a car seatbelt is pulled smoothly and controlled, the belt will fully extend.
Flexibility is an important component of physical fitness. We all need flexibility enough to execute the movements we perform in our daily life. Stretching can also reduce the pressures of both physical pain and mental health.
I recently joined a place called “Stretch Zone”. They have not only helped me “undo” a lot of aches and pains but has helped my lower back pain that I have had for years. They have taught me about the proper ways to stretch with their educated knowledge. While they stretch you on their specialized table they explain to you what they are doing and why. The knowledge I have learned, and the positive physical benefits I have received, going twice a week, are well worth the money spent.
Stretch Zone has made me a believer in the importance of stretching!!