Stretching forms an important part of physical routine in form of warm ups and cool downs. Flexibility is defined as â€œstatic maximum range of motion available about a joint.â€ The key role of flexibility is in development of range-of-motion exercises as a part of technical development and preparation. The joints are well managed and the chances of injury are reduced.
Types of Flexibility Exercises
Various types of stretching exercises are-
The body is stretched gradually and is held for couple of seconds. The time duration depends on the purpose of stretching. For improving the range-of-motion, it is more while for simple cool down it is as low as 10 seconds.
– The limb or the body is pushed with a force to elongate it ahead of its range-of-motion. The limb makes use of momentum to the maximum possible extent.
The arms and legs are stretched with gentle swings within the range-of-motion of the body. The movements are slow in the beginning with repetitions then the speed gradually perks up.
– Muscle resistance is developed by isometric contraction of muscles.
Stretching in the position assumed is held for a larger duration of time without any assistance.
– In this kind of stretching the help of props or some other assistance is taken for improving flexibility.
– The assistance of a partner is taken. There has to be mutual understanding and cooperation among both or else the possibilities of injuries are high. They are also known as partner stretches, PNF technique is the advanced form of this kind of stretching exercises.
These stretches in various combination works excellently to improve flexibility. Stretches are meant not only for flexibility but also for prevention of injury and its treatment. The other advantages are speedy recovery and improvement in athletic performance. There is an increase in flexibility of neck, shoulders and upper back. The respiratory system and functioning also enhance along with the increase in flow in the muscles.
Tips for Improving Flexibility-
- Stretch should be done after a warm up session or after endurance and strength exercises. The warm ups make the muscles, tendons and ligaments more flexible making stretches easier.
- Stretches should be done gently and gradually without jerky or bouncy movements. Bouncing acts in a reverse way on the muscles.
- While stretching a gentle hauling sense is experienced on the muscle, which has to be held for 20-30 seconds. Never push too hard to the point of pain. Perform in sets of 3-5 to get the maximum advantage of it.
- Always start from the top i.e. the neck and gradually come down to the feet. The injured areas can be treated by application of cold packs.
- In case of any problems of neck, back or joint related problems seek the advise of the doctor.
Besides this, some other tips to be followed during flexibility exercise are:
- One should stretch the tissues that feel tight.
- Do not force the stretch. Be gentle.
- Go slow in the beginning.
- Always warm up before the exercise and also cool down.
- Use stretch exercise to relieve pain.
- Never ignore the pain.
- Stop when any part hurts or you experience pain.
- Maintain normal breathing while exercising.
The flexibility exercise will help you release the tension off the muscles and make you more agile. Not only that, the regular exercise regime will help you remain healthy and energetic throughout the day.