Stretching For Health

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Lack of flexibility is now a significant cause of general health problems and sports injury and is being linked to everything from stress. Back pain, and even osteoarthritis. It also means that nagging injuries, especially around your joints, take longer to heal.
Latest studies show that up to 60 percent of the general population with bad backs and knees have tight hamstrings and hips, and the leading cause is a lack of flexibility.
Active-Isolated Stretching (AI)
Olympians have been employing Active-Isolated Stretching (AI) for about ten years, but it has only recently been brought to the public’s attention.
I have used this technique on my clients for quite a while now with great success while adding renewed life and spring to tired out muscles. AI stretching prevents injury, as conventional extension can cause actual harm such as muscle pulls and tears.
AI stretching does what it is supposed to do; it transports oxygen to sore muscles and quickly removes toxins to recover faster. It also works as a deep massage technique because it activates muscle fibers during the actual stretch.
How to Stretch
Before stretching, dress in loose clothing and try and acquire a five-foot length of rope and tie a loop in the end. The purpose of this is to loop the end of the rope around the exercising appendage to squeeze the last couple of inches of a stretch from the exercise.
Find a comfortable place to stretch either on your bed, a carpeted floor, or on a mat.
Isolate the muscle or group you want to stretch, then contract the muscle opposite. This causes the isolated muscle or group to relax straight away, and when it does, it is ready to try.
Gently and quickly stretch the isolated muscle until it can’t be pushed any further; now give yourself a gentle pull with your hands or rope. Go as far as you can and then hold the stretch for no more than 2 seconds, then release, do this for a total of 5 repetitions on the isolated muscle or group.
The reason for just 2 seconds is because when a muscle realizes that it is being forced into a stretch, it contracts to protect itself from being overstretched.
If you can beat this contraction, you’ll be well on the way to a more excellent Range of Motion.
Remember to hold for no more than 2 seconds, release, return to the normal position and repeat for the five repetitions. Try not to have any hesitations between stretches and make it as fluid as possible. Try to stretch every day if possible, remember to:
 Work one target muscle at a time.
 Contract the muscle that is opposite the targeted muscle, which will relax in preparation for its stretch.
 Stretch it gently and quickly.
 Release it before it realizes that it has been stretched and goes into its protective contraction.
Below are two exercises that can be done straight away even while you are at work to stretch that tension and stress from of your body.

  1. Lie down on the floor with your buttocks against a wall and your legs straight up the wall. Slowly flex your toes towards your knees, hold for two seconds and repeat five times. This will loosen up your lower back and stretch your hamstrings and hips, giving instant relief for tired backs.
    This exercise can be done while at the office anytime you start to feel that stress and tension are building up.
  2. Sitting in a chair and putting one leg out straight, flex your toes towards your knee, now lean towards that foot, stretching your hands towards it and letting your head and shoulders follow, hold for two seconds and repeat five times. This will create a stretch right across your lower back and neck.
    A flexible body is:
     More efficient
     More easily trained for strength and endurance
     Enjoys more range of motion
     Stays balanced more easily and are less prone to injury
     Recovers from workouts more quickly and feels better.

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