Working out requires your body to be flexible so that you can reach, bend and twist per the requirements of each exercise. When you stretch your joints open up and give you a full motion range. If you are new to working out, you may not know how to go about a stretching warm-up. Awkward stretching could lead to straining of your joints, so you should take guidance from a Sunshine Coast boot camp fitness personal trainer.
How stretching affects the body
As mentioned above when you do regular stretching your body will increase in flexibility. The muscles become more flexible and your nervous system gets trained to bear up with further stretching. If you indulge in stretching say for a month or so and then stop, the flexibility you achieve will disappear. Stretching helps the body to develop greater tolerance by creating changes in the unit level of muscle-tendon resulting in increased motion range.
How much flexibility you require will depend on the type of activity you have in mind. Example, if you run or jog you would not need the same range of flexibility as a ballet dancer or gymnast would. When you exercise your tendons and muscles tend to store and let out energy in a kind of spring action. If you emit surplus flexibility it could reduce the natural spring of the muscle. This would not be helpful for certain activities such as jumping, running, net games etc which require sudden changes of direction. On the flip side a Sunshine Coast personal trainer will advise you that lesser flexibility can cause straining of the muscles as the muscles will be unable to stretch and absorb such energy.
▪ PNF or facilitation of proprioceptive neuromuscular stretching: The methods for this type of stretching can vary. In general, PNF involves holding on to a stretch with simultaneous contracting and then relaxing of the muscle.
▪ Static stretching: This type of stretch involves moving the muscle to a point where mild discomfort is experienced and holding the position for around 30 seconds.
▪ Bouncing stretches: These stretches are good for increasing the range of body motion. It involves bouncing and jerking movements while stretching.
▪ Dynamic stretching: This stretching involves movements that are gentle and repetitive. Swinging of the arms is a good example. You would need to slowly increase the motion but yet remain within the stipulated range.
Though stretching is advocated before doing any serious workout, it will not protect you from injuries. It could help to some extent in reducing the chances of muscle tears, ligament tears, sprains and strains. Most fitness courses will have insurance if you do happen to injure yourself.
Stretching as also some light aerobic movements, are required as a warm up before starting a workout. This will help to increase the range of motion and prepare the body for more intense movements. The blood flow increases to the muscles and the heart rate goes up. When the muscles are warmed up they are able to produce more energy resulting in quicker reaction time. If you enjoy doing stretching you should include it in your regular routine. However as mentioned above it would be wise to take the advice of a Sunshine Coast personal training instructor so that you undertake the right type of stretching before you start your workout.