After being called out for not doing what I was supposed to be doing I go home and look up the benefits of stretching to psych myself up for this additional time suck.
According to the Mayo Clinic the benefits of stretching are thought to be:
- Improving athletic performance
- Decreasing the risk of activities-based injuries
Here is the link to the article: Mayo Clinic. These are some stretching tips they give:
*Don’t consider stretching a warm-up. You may hurt yourself if you stretch cold muscles. Stretch after you exercise when your muscles are warmed up.
*Focus on major muscle groups. Also stretch muscles and joints that you routinely use at work or play. And make sure that you stretch both sides. For instance, if you stretch your left hamstring, be sure to stretch your right hamstring, too.
*Don’t bounce. Bouncing as you stretch can cause small tears in the muscle. These tears leave scar tissue as the muscle heals, which tightens the muscle even further, making you less flexible and more prone to pain. So, hold each stretch for about 30 seconds. Repeat each stretch three or four times.
*Don’t aim for pain. Expect to feel tension while you’re stretching, not pain. If it hurts, you’ve pushed too far. Back off to the point where you don’t feel any pain, then hold the stretch.
*Make stretches sport specific. Some evidence suggests that it’s helpful to do stretches tailored for your sport or activity. If you play soccer, for instance, you’re more vulnerable to hamstring strains. So opt for stretches that help your hamstrings.
*Keep up with your stretching. Stretching can be time-consuming. But you can achieve the best benefits by stretching regularly, at least two to three times a week. If you don’t stretch regularly, you risk losing any benefits that stretching offered. For instance, if stretching helped you increase your range of motion, and you stop stretching, your range of motion may decrease again.
*Bring movement into your stretching. Gentle movement can help you be more flexible in specific movements. The gentle movements of tai chi, for instance, may be a good way to stretch. And if you’re going to perform a specific activity, such as a front kick in martial arts, do the move slowly and at low intensity at first to get your muscles used to it. Then speed up gradually as your muscles become accustomed to the motion.
OK, I can do this. This is my new mantra: Stretching is good for me. Stretching is good for me. Stretching is good for me…
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