Stretching, also known as warm-up, is an activity that is generally practiced before doing sports or heavy physical work sessions; This is extremely necessary because it activates movement in the muscles of the body, it also serves to avoid injuries during exercise routines, because if the muscles enter into considerable physical activity and these had not been previously prepared, it can cause pain and injuries in general.
Benefits of stretching
Stretching, as it is commonly known in some countries, is a physical activity that provides a wide variety of benefits, such as:
Prevents muscle injuries
Muscle injuries are a type of condition that occurs when the muscle tissue is affected by some type of poorly performed physical activity, this results in a hemorrhage that is caused by the breakdown of the blood vessels that run through the muscle tissue.
This type of problem is quite frequent in those people who exceed the physical capacities of their body when carrying out strong days of exercise, or when they start with an activity that requires great effort without having the necessary physical experience. However, avoiding muscle injuries is possible, this through stretching practice, since it is constituted by a series of movements that stimulate the functioning of the muscles (it is important to mention that if physical capacities are exceeded, equally Injuries can occur, regardless of whether there was a stretch or not.)
Activates the mobility of the organism
Stretching is one of the most common practices, this is carried out by the vast majority of people, since it is an instinctive activity of the human being, which is carried out when you want to begin to mobilize the body; This can be when waking up in the morning, being in the same position for long periods of time, among others.
Serves as the basic principle of various sports
This physical activity has been one of the basic principles for a large number of sports, this is because when stretching, the muscles are working, since a certain amount of pressure is exerted when doing such an activity. Among the sports that require a prior stretching, it is possible to mention yoga, a discipline that is based on relaxation techniques originating in India, together with a series of stretches that are executed with each of the extremities of the body.
Relevant aspects regarding stretching
Stretching as a regular practice is one of the most useful and beneficial activities for the human being, this due to all the reasons mentioned above. Therefore, it is necessary to take into account various factors that are related to this activity, in order to execute it correctly.
Among the relevant aspects to know regarding stretching, it is possible to mention the following:
Types of stretching
When talking about stretching, it should be considered that this practice has a large number of variants, this because it can be done in different ways, working certain muscular areas of the body. Among the most popular types of stretching we can mention:
- Static: When stretching in this way, it is necessary to be at rest, stretch a muscle to a bearable position and hold it in this way for 20 or 30 seconds. This form of stretching is used especially before sports activities such as running or swimming.
- Dynamic: When performing this stretching model, the main thing is to perform jumps and swings. It should be taken into account that in this type of stretching it is not recommended to exceed the limits of mobility, as it could cause injuries.
- Active: When working under this model, it is necessary to stretch the antagonist muscles without resorting to external assistance.
- Passive: In this type of stretching, force must be exerted on a limb when stretching it, sometimes it allows resorting to external assistance.
- Ballistic: It is similar to the dynamic stretching model, only in this one the limits of the muscles must be overcome a little and the activity must be fast, with their respective rebounds.
Stretching in exercise: What are the disciplines that are related to this practice?
As mentioned above, stretching is an activity that is closely related to sports, this because it helps the individual to prepare their muscles for physical activity. Among the sports in which stretching is essential, the following should be mentioned:
Running, also known as running, running, and jogging; e s a sport that can be practiced almost everyone, because the basic principle of this is to cover a certain amount of distance below the movement pattern at a rate specific.
Stretching is vital for this sport, because when running almost all muscles are exercised, which is why they are prone to injury, since if a warm-up process is not carried out, the muscles will work in a forced way, since they are moving from a state of rest to a state of vigorous physical activity.
It is one of the sports that can cause more injuries, this is because it requires constant muscle movements, which are accompanied by force. Therefore, before starting a soccer game it is recommended to carry out a previous stretching session, in order to prevent possible injuries or damage to the muscles.
The best way to warm up for this sport is to use the static stretching model, although it is also possible to opt for dynamic stretching, this will depend on the individual.
This sport involves the effort and movement of most of the body, although clearly this can vary with the position in which it is played. Therefore, it is important to stretch beforehand to prepare the muscles before the game.
As with soccer, baseball players require two basic types of stretches, which are static and dynamic.
What is stretching after exercise for?
Another point to keep in mind about stretching is that this is also necessary after having performed physical activities, this because after long and medium days of exercise, the muscles can maintain the force that has been exerted on them, therefore, it is necessary to release them from the pressure and for this it is advisable to carry out small stretching sessions; It is worth mentioning that in these cases dynamic stretching is recommended, since it allows to adequately reduce the intensity in which one had been working.
Exercises and movements that make up the stretch
As already mentioned, there are a large number of stretching exercises, which are usually made up of the following exercises and / or movements:
- Movements in the upper extremities: When starting with the warm-up, you must first try to put each of the upper extremities in motion, for this, you must stretch your arms and move your head respectively.
- Flexion of the torso: It is the simplest stretch, to perform it, it is necessary to bend the torso looking down, without bending the knees; You should try to touch your feet with your hands and sometimes you can do other activities, with the aim of moving all the muscles of the torso.
- Leg flexion: There are two versions of this stretch, in the first version you must stand, then bend one leg back and with the opposite arm, you will try to touch the tip of the foot. To perform the second version, it is necessary to be seated on the floor with one leg bent and the other stretched, the individual must lean forward until the ankle and / or foot of the leg that is stretched is touched.
Importance of stretching
The importance of stretching is quite easy to appreciate, as it is essential for exercise; which is a means to achieve good physical condition, however, being under strong models of activities of this nature, there are constant risks that can affect the well-being of the body. Therefore, anyone who wants to have a successful exercise routine must remember that warming up and / or stretching is necessary to achieve this.
Conclusion, is it recommended to practice stretching?
Certainly, stretching is one of the most recommended activities for those who do exercise or sports regularly, this because it can prevent injuries and help begin with the mobilization of muscles. Therefore, it is recommended to use stretching in the aforementioned cases and even, if you want to wake up the body after spending hours in the same position.
Dr. Samantha Robson ( CRN: 0510146-5) is a nutritionist and website content reviewer related to her area of expertise. With a postgraduate degree in Nutrition from The University of Arizona, she is a specialist in Sports Nutrition from Oxford University and is also a member of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.