Stretching may not be the most exciting part of working out, but doing flexibility work is just as important for a well-rounded fitness routine as strength and cardio work. With this bundle, you’ll be able to share different pieces of content about stretching for improving flexibility and fitness.
Inside The Bundle
The Stretch To Improve Flexibility & Fitness Bundle includes 20 beautiful images:
- Stretch to counter the desk job
Desk jobs and long periods of sitting can negatively impact the body. Simple stretches will maintain comfort levels throughout the day. Many are so simple and subtle that co-workers won’t even notice that you are stretching.
- Stretch to maintain mobility in old age
Our range of motion can (but doesn’t have to) lessen gradually over the years, and these physiological changes, combined with a reduction in activity, result in stiff joints. A good level of flexibility can be maintained with a regular stretching routine.
- Stretch to avoid injury
Ten-minute stretches post-run or bike ride, or after non-athletic endeavours such as clearing snow or mowing the lawn, will gently reduce the chance of injury.
- Stretch to improve posture
Modern life demands that we sit a lot and the temptation to slouch is ever-present. A few simple stretches, combined with a little back strengthening, can remedy this and result in a healthier, more upright stance that feels good and conveys confidence.
- Stretch to relieve stress
Stretching unlocks muscular tightness resulting from stress. Gentle movements, such as head rolls or relaxing stretches, calm the mind. This soothing effect is doubled when stretching is combined with deep breathing.
- Stretch to combat insomnia
A regular pre-bedtime stretching sequence can help you wind down at the end of each day and help reduce stress, which can be the cause of insomnia. These stretches focus on relaxation and require no balance or strength to perform.
- Stretch to improve athletic performance
It is true to say that you cannot boost power with stretching alone, but a combination of flexibility and strength training can reap huge benefits for amateur and professional athletes.
- What are the main types of stretching?
They are ‘static’ and ‘dynamic’ with a few ‘assisted’ stretches, or those requiring a partner. Used together, static and dynamic techniques can improve the two components of flexibility: muscle length and joint range of motion.
- Static stretching
When people talk of stretching they are generally referring to static stretching or holding a stretch without movement. While it may not have the dramatic returns promised by other forms of stretching, it is thought to be the safest form.
- Dynamic stretching
These movements are gentle, slow and within the person’s normal joint range of motion. For example, swinging a leg back and forth or rolling the shoulders. The main aim is to raise the heart rate slightly and encourage blood flow to the intended part of the body.
- Assisted or partner stretches
Some stretches are done with the aid of a partner, either performing the stretch together or taking turns to lengthen one another’s muscles. Work with a partner you trust and communicate continually during the stretching process.
- How long should you stretch?
A basic static stretch where you hold the pose for an extended period should last about 30 seconds. Muscles have injury prevention structures in them that prevent you from getting much of a benefit from a stretch that lasts less than 20 seconds.
- Fact about flexibility
The degree of flexibility you possess is determined by a number of factors (sex, age, body proportions) – some of which are out of your control, like genetics. Therefore, the type of stretch you choose depends on your body. One person’s ‘advanced’ stretch might be another’s ‘gentle’.
- When is the best time to stretch?
Whenever you remember: waiting for the kettle to boil, in the shower, or while watching T.V. Some people like to stretch in the morning while others prefer a post-workout stretching routine to de-stress and relax. Little and often is ideal, but do what you can.
- Do you think you’re flexible?
You can be both supple and stiff, depending on what area of the body being stretched. You may struggle to touch your toes but show superior hip flexibility. Work within your limits and enjoy stretching!
- Fact: Simple stretching aids go a long way
A simple tool such as an old tie, dressing gown belt or purpose-made cotton yoga strap can open up a world of new stretches for those with limited flexibility, letting you move into the correct position.
- Stretching aid #1: strap
Straps can be used in various ways such as looping around the feet in seated hamstring stretches or aiding shoulder stretches. You don’t need to buy a purpose-made cotton yoga strap as an old tie or dressing gown belt makes a good substitute.
- Stretching aid #2: foam block or cushion
The main purpose of a yoga foam block or household cushion is to make seated stretches more comfortable, especially for those with tight hamstrings, a stiff back or lower back problems. They can also make the cross-legged position more accessible.
- Stretching aid 3: yoga brick
Yoga bricks can be purchased from yoga or Pilates companies. These strong rectangular brick-shaped blocks are worth sourcing especially if you have limited range of motion or suffer from lower backache.
- 7 rules for safe stretching
- Don’t stretch cold muscles.
- Don’t push too far, too soon.
- Get expert advice if you have an injury.
- Stretching shouldn’t hurt, shaking should not be visible.
- Spend 30-60 seconds holding a stretch.
- Breathe slow to relax your muscles.
- Exit slowly and take your time to come out of the stretch.