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The Benefits of Stretching

March 17, 2018

     

 

What was that activity middle and high school teachers taught students to do before playing a JV or Varsity sport? Did they tell the students to eat a big bowl of pasta 30 minutes before exercising? Or did they tell the students to roll down the whole soccer field before warming up? Or they may have told the student to do something that exercise scholars have labeled ‘stretching’ before the team warm-up?

     “Stretching is the deliberate lengthening of muscles in order to increase muscle flexibility and joint range of motion” (https://www.verywellfit.com/stretching-101-2696342). The muscles need to be loosened up before a workout. Over-time, stretching will assist the athlete in being faster, stronger, lighter, and more balanced. Tasks such as moving furniture, chopping wood, and running after one’s dog when it escapes will become easier. In essence, people turn into the Hulk after they stretch. Stretching also increases circulation to the stretchers’ muscles which helps to decrease recovery time.

     Some other improvements frequent stretching does are:

1)    Relaxes stretchers’ muscles and thus, ameliorates their posture.

2)    Increases joint range of motion.

3)    Improves posture by relaxing the stretcher’s muscles. If stretchers’ muscles are relaxed, then they are better able to maintain sufficient posture.

4)    Dilates stretchers’ muscles which brings nourishment and rids waste byproducts from the muscle tissue (https://www.verywellfit.com/stretching-101-2696342).

     When athletes finish a tough exercise work-out, they probably feel like Paul Bunyan after chopping a bunch of wood. Well truth be told, Bunyan never stretched after chopping wood so guess what?: he was always hobbling around afterwards like the Hunchback of Notre Dame. This occurs because if people don’t not stretch after exercising, they will acquire an abated range of motion. Thus, the person will become sore from lactic acid buildup.

     And now, the big question? Why do stretchers attain lactic acid after a tough workout? I’m sure Paul Bunyan really wanted to know the answer as well. The answer lies in one’s circulatory system. One’s circulatory system is similar to a guinea pig wheel in that after an intense workout, the system cannot keep up with the muscles’ demand for oxygen. “To maintain a steady supply of energy, muscles shift from aerobic metabolism, which requires oxygen, to anaerobic metabolism, which does not” (https://www.livestrong.com/article/376532-muscle-fatigue-soreness-from-lactic-acid/).

     Many people would also like to understand a proper stretch routine to warm up with and to decrease lactic acid buildup. Well, don’t worry. This article will teach one that as well. That’s like someone teaching customers what a remote control is without teaching them how to use it:

 

INT TELEVISION DISCOUNTERS (made up television store name)

 

STAN Hey there! Welcome to TV Discounters. We sell remote controllers which are devices that operate a television off and on.

 

MITCH How does one use and program the remote control?

 

STAN Oh, we don’t know that information. You’re going to have to google it.

 

     Anyway, let’s cut the comedy and return to discussing an adequate stretching routine:

 

1)    Warm up first: Stretching one’s muscles when they’re cold could lead to a pulled muscle. Walking gently while pumping one’s arms or doing a low energy exercise for 5 minutes are good warm-ups to perform.

2)    30 Second Stretch Hold: Hold one’s stretches for at least 30 seconds and up to 60 seconds if it is a really tight muscle.

3)    Don’t bounce: Bouncing as one stretches, can lead to small micro tears which can cause scar tissue as the muscle heals. The scar tissue will elongate the muscle even further causing the stretcher to become less flexible.

4)    Breathe While Stretching: Breathing will help a person to go deeper with each stretch.

5)    Don’t go too Far with the Stretch: Feeling pain while people stretch means they have taken the stretch too far.

6)    Stretch Both Sides: Stretcher’s joint range of motion should be the same on both sides.

7)    Stretch Before and After an Activity: Stretchers should stretch lightly after their warm-up followed by a more thorough stretching routine afterwards. (https://www.verywellfit.com/stretching-101-2696342).

     So those are the benefits of stretching and how important it is to perform before and after exercising. After reading this article, Paul Bunyan started a daily stretching routine. The joint lengthening activity has rid Bunyan’s hunchback posture thus enabling him to chop more wood.   Emulate Paul Bunyan with these exercise routines to become more limber and gain an improved posture. Please learn how to chop one’s own wood though.

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