It may be an activity that is often taken for granted during exercises, but stretching is as important to any physical activity as, say, running or lifting weights. For one, stretching your muscles protect you from the risks of having to endure muscle strains or spasms.
Of course, the same cannot be said for when you injure yourself precisely because you were performing stretches. So, it should only follow that you have to be responsible enough to do stretches by your lonesome in a safe manner. How can you do so, though?
Well, if you want to know more about it, then read below for how you can avoid injuries during stretches:
• “Warming up” before stretching
For many people, “stretching” is the definition of warming up, and it’s not hard to see why they would view it as such. However, proceeding to do stretches immediately can risk your chances of spraining yourself because of the fact that your muscles are too “cold” to indulge in any moderate physical activity. So, to remedy that, you can always do some mild warmup exercises to stimulate blood going to the muscles. A regular set of jumping jacks can be a good example of a “mild” warmup exercise.
• Doing “dynamic” stretches
There is that common misconception that stretches only involve holding a certain limb on a fixed angle at a prolonged time. If you are starting with the first round of stretches, then that is actually the last thing you have to do; otherwise, you are only risking yourself for further injury.
So, better do dynamic stretches if you are starting up. Doing arm circles or rotating your hips, despite the actions both of these exercises entail, qualifies as “stretches”, in this regard.
• Avoiding doing stretches that reach your “limit”
There is a value to being “tough”. However, you should not do so at a point that an activity is already causing you discomfort. Sure enough, this applies to stretching, too.
So, if you happen to be stretching your, say, foot to the point that you feel like it’s probably better to stop, then you should probably stop pushing yourself. Gentle exercises can actually work just as well for stretches.