There are many benefits to regular stretching, not only can stretching help increase your flexibility; it may also improve posture and body aches.
Regular stretching may help to increase your flexibility. Improved flexibility can help you perform daily activities with ease and may also help delay reduced mobility that can come with aging.
Increases Range of Motion:
The ability to move a joint through its full range of motion gives you more freedom of movement. Regular stretching may help increase your range of motion. A study found that both static and dynamic stretching are effective for increasing range of motion, although proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation stretching may be more effective for immediate benefit.
Improves Performance in Physical Activities:
Dynamic stretching prior to physical activity has been shown to help your muscles prepare for the activity.
Increases Blood Flow to Muscles:
Regular stretching may improve your circulation which increases blood flow to your muscles. This may shorten your recovery time and reduce delayed onset muscle soreness.
The most common types of stretching are dynamic and static.
Dynamic stretching involves the movement of joints through their full range of motion in a slow and controlled manner. They are often used as a warm-up prior to physical activity and there are no extended holds. Generally, the type of movement, or dynamic stretch used will be similar to the activity about to be performed. “High knees” or ‘butt kicks” are examples of dynamic stretching that may be performed before running.
Static stretching involves moving the body into a stretch and holding for an extended period of time. Timing of the extended stretch varies though they are commonly prescribed for 15-30 seconds at a time for 3-5 times. Static stretching can be performed actively by using your own muscles to hold the positions, or passively, using an external force such as a strap, a wall or another person. Bending down and touching your toes or letting the heels drop down off the edge of a step are examples of static stretching.
Dynamic and static stretching can be effective for increasing flexibility
Pre-activity dynamic stretching may improve performance
Post-activity static stretching may prevent delayed onset muscle soreness
Stretching is generally a safe activity that can be included as part of your daily activity
Written by Maharlia Kennedy
Dip. Remedial Massage