Before we explore the names of stretches, it’s important to stress how vital stretching is to your fitness routine. It really doesn’t matter if your regime happens to be, Cardio, Cycling, Running, Weight training, MMA fighting, you need to stretch as part it.
Preferably everyone needs to be stretching before and after a workout, a good way around this is to set aside a time for warm up so all the muscles can be stretched out throughly .
So why is stretching your muscles important? The muscles, even those you may think are not tight or sore need to be lengthened to assist with recovery, reduce incidences of injury and enable the muscles to go in a full range of motion in comparison to a muscle that is inflamed from a previous injury.
As time goes on, and people age, no matter how fit you are, the muscles will get tighter and tighter. What happens then is that there will be a tendency to compensate with other muscles. Take, for example, a job where you are at a desk for hours. You may be sitting with your arms reached forward, shoulders rounded while your back is slightly slouched. Since your arms are stretched forward, your chest is pushed in, this means your back muscles are in a slouched position and is taking all the pressure while your chest muscles become shortened and tight.
Not only does this create stiffness, it also means the muscles are not being properly oxygenated. Then there’s those rounded shoulders that are hunched forward, this puts an immense amount of stress on the neck along with the trapezius muscles (a the top of the back). Is it no wonder that people have such a sore neck at the end of the day. The lower half of your body is also under strain. With knees bent in the chair, your hamstrings (the back of the thigh) you will find they tighten and shorten.
This is why back pain is more than likely to occur sitting at a desk or being sedentary than in any other situation. For stress to leave the body, and circulation to be revived, those muscles need to be lengthened.
For your muscles to stave off pain and stress, stretching your chest, upper and lower back, neck, shoulders, hips, abdominals, hamstrings, quadriceps (front of the thigh), and calves critical to a healthy pain-free life.
One of the key points to a good stretch is ensuring that your muscles are warm. It really is not best to stretch with cold muscles. So give your joints a bit of a roll before holding a stretch.
Each stretch needs to be held for at least 10-20 seconds for maximum benefits. If you also take deep breaths while stretching you will release any pent up tension and enable your body to relax and stretch a little deeper.
If it hurts in a certain spot, do not continue to stretch. There may be a little tension and resistance in a stretch but not pain.
Get tools such as bands, a towel, a strap or even blocks can be involved so they can help you stretch without discomfort. They are also a great way to help you get the proper positioning of a stretch and ease you into position.
Also note that you should listen to your body. Come out of each stretch slowly.
The Lateral Neck Flexion is one of the names of stretches that is simple to do and gives instant relief.
- Face straight forward not letting the chin drop down
- Move your ear towards the shoulder
- While doing this do not let your shoulder lift
- Hold this for around 10 and 30 seconds
- Upper fibres of Trapezius
- Levator Scapulae
Below are a list of names of stretches and how to do them. Most are simple manoeuvres that can be done at a desk or while out running.
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