Stretching is good for your health. How to make more of it | CBC Radio

The dose22:59Why should I stretch regularly?

As a former competitive gymnast, Christie Misketis is no stranger to the importance of stretching.

She credits routine stretching with improving her overall form and flexibility.

“I can attest to the special nature of stretching and increasing flexibility and staying in the sport for so long.”

Experts say stretching isn’t just essential for competitive athletes or as a pre-workout activity. Regular stretching can improve overall flexibility and strength while ensuring the body remains supple and flexible.

David Behm smiles into the camera, wearing a suit and tie.
David Behm is a University Research Professor in the Department of Human Kinetics and Recreation at Memorial University of Newfoundland. (Submitted by David Behm)

David Behm, professor of human kinetics and recovery, says stretching influences Muscle strength, Cardiovascular healthand myself Pain therapy in some cases.

“If we can increase our range of motion and make our tissues more elastic, that will increase our movement efficiency,” said Behm, a university research professor at Memorial University of Newfoundland, in an interview with The dose Host Dr. Brian Goldman.

What stretching exercises are there for beginners?

According to Behm, a forward lunge is one of the easiest ways to stretch.

Take a step forward, position the front leg so that the knee forms a 90-degree angle, bend forward as far as is comfortable, and keep the back leg straight.

“This stretch itself would stretch your quadriceps, the front of your leg, your glutes, your glutes, your hamstrings, and if you did it sideways or even at a 45-degree angle, you would stretch your groin muscles,” Behm said.

In-place lunges are a type of static stretching – one of the two main classifications of stretches.

Laura Lundquist crosses her arms and smiles at the camera.
Laura Lundquist is a registered physical therapist and owner of Zoomers Physiotherapy in Halifax, Spring Physiotherapy in Dartmouth, NS, and Club Z Fitness for Baby Boomers. (Submitted by Laura Lundquist)

Nova Scotia-based physical therapist Laura Lundquist says static stretches are single positions held for extended periods of time – from a few seconds to a few minutes in stretch-based activities like yoga or tai chi.

Static stretching exercises help increase the body’s range of motion, reduce overall stiffness and reduce muscle strain injuries, she said.

Chin curls are another type of static stretch that Misketis says office workers can do to relax their posture.

Move your chin toward your chest, hold this position for a few seconds, and then move your chin forward again.

Unlike static stretches, dynamic stretches move muscles and joints within their “full available range,” Lundquist said, adding that these stretches are typically done in preparation for physical activity.

“As you prepare to play pickleball, you want to ensure that your ankles, knees, hips, shoulders, and all associated muscles can assume all of the positions necessary to participate in the sport.”

Behm says static stretching can be further divided into passive and active categories.

Passive static stretches involve another person moving your body into a stretched position, while active stretches are movements we do ourselves.

Behm added that there is a third category of stretching called “stretching.” proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF).

PNF involves both passive static stretching – supported by another person or with the help of a stretch band – and tensing a muscle.

“You will end up with more elasticity and a greater range of motion,” Behm said.

Search suggestions PNF stretching is effective to improve and maintain range of motion as well as increase muscle strength and athletic performance.

Activities like yoga and tai chi that include stretching and breathing exercises are also easy ways to make stretching a primary physical activity.

What is the safest way to stretch?

Regardless of what form of stretching is used, most experts agree that the best type of stretching is based on a person’s natural limits and does not go beyond the “point of initial discomfort,” Behm said.

“We can get to the point where we feel the most discomfort… and that will increase your range of motion,” he said.

“Perhaps [Novak] Djokovic has to do that, or Simone Biles, the gymnast, but the average person can just get to the point of initial discomfort when they start to feel some tension and then keep it there.”

While stretching can be effective throughout the day, Lundquist says many people find that doing a stretch at the end of the day is a “nice way to literally and figuratively recover from the stress of the day.”

“It can be helpful in putting us into rest and relaxation mode and perhaps even promote good sleep,” she said.

Neck stretches and the child’s yoga position are stretches that are possible Help the body relax before bed.

Misketis says both firm, flat surfaces and comfortable, cushioned surfaces have their advantages when it comes to where to stretch.

“If you have support in the position you’re stretching in – especially if your mobility is limited and you can’t fall to the floor – stretching in bed or on a comfortable surface is perfectly fine,” she said .

People who already have a strained or injured muscle should give their body time to recover before stretching again.

VIEW | Goat yoga takes downward dog to another level:

Goat yoga takes downward dog to another level

Sometimes disruptions in training are welcome. About 50 people brought their mats into the stable to experience a unique experience: goat yoga. The CBC’s Amy Hadley watched the event, which was a fundraiser for Murillo Mutts and the Townline Equestrian Center just outside Thunder Bay. March dates are sold out, but names will be given for April events.

To see the health benefits, most people can stretch every day without fear of muscle pain or injury, says Behm.

“That doesn’t mean everyone has to stretch every day,” he said. “You can increase your range of motion even more by doing stretching exercises once or twice a week.”

Still, Behm recommends stretching three to six times a week and holding each pose for at least five seconds each.

“Five seconds of stretching increases range of motion,” he said.

“Thirty seconds would be better. But if you say, ‘I don’t have time to stretch.’ Well, come on, you have five seconds.”

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