Stretching is a type of exercise that involves stretching a muscle or tendon to improve its elasticity and create a comfortable tone. Stretching has many benefits, including the ability to relieve cramping, increase range of motion, decrease injury risk, and reduce muscle soreness. Stretching can help you relax both mentally and physically. Deep, slow breathing is important. While you should feel the tension as you stretch, don’t let it become painful. There are many types of stretching methods. Here are some examples of different types of stretching, along with their benefits and when you should use them.
- Static stretching refers to a position that you hold in a comfortable but challenging way for a set amount of time. It is usually between 30 and 60 seconds. This is the most popular form of stretching and is often used in general fitness routines. This is the safest and effective way to increase flexibility. Static stretching should be done after you have finished your workout.
- Dynamic stretching is also known as a dynamic warm-up. A dynamic warm-up is a sequence of specific movements designed to prepare the muscles for sport. This type of stretching is safe and controlled. This increases blood flow and warms the muscles. Examples of dynamic warm-ups include high knees and butt-kickers and lunges, high kicks and lunges. This warm-up is great for warming up before exercising, as it increases blood flow and muscle strength.
- Passive stretching refers to a technique where you are completely relaxed and do not contribute to the range of motion. An outside agent instead creates force manually or mechanically. You can use a towel, band or gravity to help you stretch. This is a great stretch to do after a workout or when you feel tightness in your muscles.
- PNF (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation), stretching techniques that involve a partner actively stretching (Antagonist muscles – a muscle which opposes another’s action). Antagonist muscle – A muscle that contracts and the other relaxes. For example, the arm’s triceps and biceps would contract while the other relaxes. The leg’s quadriceps and hamstrings would also be affected. This stretching should only be done with the guidance of a certified fitness specialist.