Do I Really Need To Stretch?

January 19, 2012 at 5:28 pm | Posted in Bareskin Towel, Fitness, tips | Leave a comment
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Author: Dana Lee Chapman

We take part in aerobic activity to improve our cardiovascular endurance and burn fat. We weight-train to maintain lean muscle tissue and build strength. Those are the two most important elements of a fitness program, right?

Actually, there is another important element (along with balance, coordination & agility). But, most often neglected is flexibility training, especially after a workout. That neglect is regrettable, because flexibility training:

:: Allows greater freedom of movement and improved posture
:: Increases physical and mental relaxation
:: Releases muscle tension and soreness
:: Reduces risk of injury :: Improve circulation/blood flow to muscles :: Induce muscle building potential (recent research shows that stretching increases the muscle building process your body goes through). Some people are naturally more flexible. Flexibility is primarily due to one’s genetics, gender, age and level of physical activity. As we grow older, we tend to lose flexibility, usually as a result of inactivity rather than the aging process itself.

The less active we are, the less flexible we are likely to be. As with cardiovascular endurance and muscle strength, flexibility will improve with regular training.  During your flexibility training it is best to do static stretching. Static stretching is slowly elongating the muscle through its full range of motion, then holding it at a position where it is at full extension (without pain). The stretch is held for 15 to 30 seconds with no bouncing.

Most experts believe ballistic, or bouncing during a stretch, is dangerous because the muscle may reflexively contract if restretched quickly following a short relaxation period. Such eccentric contractions are believed to increase the risk of injury.

A great way to stretch after a workout or otherwise is starting a yoga practice. Incorporating yoga into your routine is extremely beneficial. Even just a few minutes at the end of your workout session can help to loosen tight muscles, increase balance, calm your mind and have positive effects on how you feel & think.

Remember it only takes five minutes at the end of your workout. If you’ve already spend the time for a great workout, then what’s just five minutes more if it means better results? Plus, it just feels good!

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/fitness-articles/do-i-really-need-to-stretch-5573502.html

About the Author

Dana Lee is the Founder & Master Group Fitness Motivator at RealFit.tv & Dana Lee’s 20-Minute H.I.I.T. Workout Series

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