To maintain a healthy lifestyle, merely watching our diet may prove to be inadequate. Having a varied exercise regime which includes both cardiovascular and strength-training exercises should be incorporated. You can opt to sign up at a gym for energetic aerobic classes or even opt for brisk walking in the park. There is a wide range of exercise choices available for you!
However, people tend to focus on the type of exercise itself, and forget to pay attention to stretching, not realizing the importance of active stretching. Common excuses for such negligence are tiredness and a lack of time before and after their workouts. Active stretching is necessary and should be incorporated along with the daily routine as it helps to prevent the straining of muscles to a large extent. Active stretching can be used almost anytime of the day, to relieve tension and stress as well as after an intensive workout.
There are some guidelines when attempting to perform active stretching. Posture and technique are important aspects to pay attention to. Active stretching should take place after a body has been warmed up, either by walking or even by doing daily household chores as well as manual labor! Contrary to popular belief, one should not begin a workout routine by stretching, as the muscles are not warmed up or loose enough to be flexed properly. Stretching before warming up can lead to strains. An adequate warm-up can be as simple as five or ten minutes of walking at a moderate pace, or even after completing your household chores that require a little more movement. A good time for active stretching is after the completion of your weight-training and cardiovascular workout.
The type of workout you choose will determine the type of active stretching. For instance, cardiovascular exercises such as running, affect the focus of your stretching. The focus of the stretch should be your legs, hips and ankles as they bore the majority of the impact while running. One popular way to stretch is aptly named the “runner’s stretch”. You will have to stretch and place your hands on the ground in front of you to keep your torso off the ground. The right knee is bent out in front of the body while the opposite leg is stretched behind and straightened. Not only would your hamstrings and hips get a good stretch with this technique, the crucial muscles to pay attention to; other parts of your body are being stretched as well, including your sides.
Attention should be given to your inner thighs as well after running. You can sit on the floor, with the heels of the feet together. Your knees would be facing outwards while you gently lean from the waist, bringing your forehead toward your heels in one smooth motion, avoiding jerky movements to reduce strain on your muscles. Remember to breathe deeply while you stretch!
Active stretching integrates flexibility into your workout routine, helping to prevent sport injuries and is not time consuming. After all, you’ve expended a lot of effort in your workout; a little more time devoted to active stretching would do wonders to round it off!
What is your favorite stretch? Share with us below!
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