You know that muscle stretching is essential if you practice physical activity. They allow you to avoid cramps but also to gain flexibility. OK, but how do you stretch properly ? No need to be a great sportsman to get started! You can do stretching and flexibility exercises for all parts of your body, at any time of the day. If you still doubt the benefits of this routine or if you don’t know when to do it, our best tips will guide you to be on top!
The multiple benefits of stretching on the body and the mind
Is stretching essential for any athlete?
We have often lent miraculous virtues to stretching, thinking that it could improve the capacity for sports performance, reduce the risk of injury or even prevent body aches. It was included from the outset in warming up and muscle recovery, in all types of sports. Many studies now question its usefulness in injury prevention. They would notably preserve joint problems such as osteoarthritis.
Gain flexibility to feel better
Stretching is used to work on flexibility. Any stretching exercise will help you with joint stiffness. If they do not always promote recovery after sport, stretching is nevertheless essential in improving joint amplitude, with long-term effects. This is particularly the case for people who practice dance or artistic gymnastics. In addition, stretching makes it possible to obtain a better state of relaxation if it is practiced after the exercises. Let’s also cite the example of yoga enthusiasts: they confirm that it positively influences their mindset ! By releasing the tensions, you work on your letting go and your breathing! A great way to refocus on yourself…
Impose a certain regularity to become more flexible
For this to be effective, remember to stretch each part of your body daily for 15 to 30 seconds in passive technique (PNF). Passive stretching is more effective than dynamic stretching if done intensively. Daily sessions are necessary to improve over several weeks. One watchword: listen to yourself! Avoid the pain and go at your own pace. If you practice, you will inevitably see a progression settling!
In summary, to improve your flexibility, you need intensive and daily practice. In addition, depending on the sport you practice, stretching is to be done either before or after physical exercise.
Stretch well: choose when to do it to be on top
Should you stretch before exercising?
Yes, you have to stretch before sport… But under certain conditions! The stretching of the sportsman is carried out at key moments. In sports disciplines with extreme joint amplitude, the ideal is that you practice a dynamic stretch. Your stretches should be short to stimulate the elasticity of tendons and muscles and promote joint mobility. Before sport, your stretching can be done standing up. This will allow, among other things, a good awakening and a relaxation of the back.
Stretching the body after exercise: good or bad idea?
It’s a good idea to stretch at least 1 hour after exercise. Relax first by taking your shower and think about regaining your strength by eating! For example, if you want to stretch after a run, do it gently and in short repetitions (7 to 10 seconds maximum). This can be a calf stretch or a thigh stretch that looks the tightest. Favor passive relaxation based on painlessness: too many athletes cause injuries by insisting on their movements for a long time!
Lengthen your muscles in prevention
Rather than trying to do a big anti-ache stretching session just once a week, a regular and gentle practice of at least 3 times a week is recommended. An athlete who stretches regularly will be injured less often. Similarly, to avoid cramps, we advise you to stretch even outside of your training phases. Listen to calm music , use a floor mat, and finish lying on your back with a relaxing break.
Avoid mistakes to succeed in muscle flexibility
Basic instructions for stretching without pain
Here are some tips to gain flexibility without hurting yourself:
– Remember to warm up well before a major effort. ƒ
– Avoid jolts and favor the fluidity of the gesture. ƒ
– Learn some basic moves from a movement expert.
– Start with slow movements or static positions.
– Pay attention to your placement errors and in particular to the posture of your back.ƒ
– Banish extreme and harmful positions for your joints.
– Opt for a pleasant and heated environment.
– Perform your stretches slowly and in time with your breathing.
Stop your activity in case of cramp, stretch and massage your muscle without forcing.
Recommendations on certain stretches in particular
Do you need some tips on very specific softeners? Here they are :
– A good glute stretch is done lying on your back by crossing one leg over the other and pulling the latter towards you, while placing your hands behind your thigh or at the level of your knee.
– A stretching of the psoas in case of sciatic pain must be performed with the knee positioned on the ground behind and the other leg resting on the foot.
– Your chest must remain straight to benefit from an optimal lower back stretch. Slowly slide your hands down to touch the floor with your fingertips, then slowly straighten up, unrolling your spine and raising your head last.
Choose the right timing to stay in shape
Avoid stretching immediately after sport! They do not make the aches disappear, and can on the contrary increase them. They risk hindering good recovery and aggravating muscle or tendon micro-lesions. Ideally, recovery stretching takes place at least 6 hours after stopping physical activity. Never insist on a sore or sore muscle, you could make the situation worse! In case of prolonged discomfort, do not hesitate to consult a specialist.
Depending on the physical activity you practice, Ahealthiness advises you to get closer to a good sports physiotherapist who can explain how to stretch properly , and do so in an appropriate way. Improperly performed muscle stretching can cause injury! It therefore remains essential to adapt your practice to your physiognomy and your sport. In addition, make sure you are well hydrated before, during and after your stretching session. Water fully promotes physical recovery. Have these practical tips helped you see things more clearly