Like cardiovascular and muscle conditioning, stretching exercises provide many health benefits. Increasing your flexibility will lengthen your muscles, improve your fitness performance and help you with everyday activities.
Stretching exercises can be done at all ages and fitness levels. Range of motion decreases as we age. By incorporating flexibility into your fitness program, you can reduce joint pain, decrease risk of injury and improve ease of movement.
Stretching exercises will help improve the range of motion of your joints. There are 3 main types of movements. Static flexibility involves holding the movement at the position of its furthest point.
In dynamic flexibility you are gradually increasing the reach and speed of movement of your body parts. PNF (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation) involves contracting the muscle against resistance in order to deepen the pose. People, who workout regularly, such as bodybuilders and athletes, often neglect stretching exercises as a part of their fitness program. Their muscles can become tight, thereby affecting performance. It is very important to include flexibility as a part of a balanced workout.
All the muscles groups utilized in your workout should be worked for flexibility. This should be done at least 3 days a week. Positions should be held to mild discomfort for 10 seconds to 2 minutes. They should be performed slowly and smoothly, never bounce.
It is important to breathe during each movement; exhaling and you go deeper into the posture. Never force or strain the muscles and joints. The moves can be repeated 3-5 times.