Think you know what you’re doing when it comes to stretching?
According to Aida Yahaya, founder of Good Stretch, stretching is a vital part of having a healthy, fit body and is crucial if you want to stay active later on in life. However, bad stretching can lead to injury, pain and stiffness, so it’s crucial to use proper techniques and avoid making these common mistakes:
5 most common stretching mistakes
- Skipping warm-up before stretching
Yes, you actually need to warm up before you stretch. A pre-stretching warm-up will increase your body’s core temperature to make muscles more pliable and generate blood flow to the surrounding muscles and connective tissue, reducing your risk of injury and allowing you to stretch more effectively.
- Overstretching the muscles
Stretching should never be painful, so be sure to slowly ease into your stretches. You may feel slightly uncomfortable during a stretch, but it should never hurt, so take care to not push your body past its limits, and always stay in your natural range of motion.
If you notice tightness in one muscle area, repeat your stretches multiple times without pushing too hard – if need be, change to a different stretch that tackles the same area without tightness before trying again.
- Bouncing while stretching
Bouncing while stretching can actually be detrimental as it can cause muscles and tendons to tear. A bouncing motion can trigger the muscles in your body to tighten in an attempt to protect and can also cause you to stretch too deeply leading to a higher likelihood of sprains, strains or tears. Instead of bouncing, gradually elongate into the stretch. Hold the stretch for 10 to 15 seconds, release and repeat.
- Holding your breath as you stretch
Never hold your breath while stretching, this tightens your muscles and causes them to be less flexible. Instead, take long, slow breaths, ideally through your nose, which has the added benefit of lowering stress.
You may find you can sink deeper into your stretch with each cycle of inhaling and exhaling as your muscles relax in response.
- Stretching an injured muscle
If you are suffering from an injury avoid stretching until the impacted area has fully healed. If you don’t you risk aggravating your injury and causing further tendon or tissue damage – maintaining a good stretching technique is crucial for helping you avoid injury.
ABOUT GOOD STRETCH
GOOD STRETCH is on a mission to get the nation stretching and change the perception of stretching with virtual flexibility lessons designed to help their clients meet their health, fitness and wellbeing goals, focusing on the physical and mental benefits of stretching the body.