Stretching – Loving Your Body
Most everyone knows stretching is an integral part of an exercise routine. But did you know that it is crucial at many other times including when you are not exercising?
It is the process of gradually applying gentle force to lengthen and lubricate muscles and joints. It is a way to show you love your body because it requires complete focus on yourself.
Stretching can be done by anyone no matter their current physical condition or age. It is a remarkable way to improve health without wear and tear, yet contributes to overall wellness.
The Importance of a Good Stretch – In a Class By Itself
Stretching classes have become very popular. Once just a small part of any conditioning class, it has come unto its own. There are a lot of reasons why muscles, tendons and cartilage need to be stretched.
- Lengthens muscle fibers that have contracted from disuse or excessive use
- Restore muscle flexibility after injury
- Assists in removal of natural wastes like lactic acid from muscles
- Increases flexibility
- Restores muscle balance
- Warms the muscles
The benefits extend far beyond the muscles though.
- Stimulate the digestive organs
- Energize the body
- Reduce inflammations in joints
- Relieve tension and stress
- Improve posture
- Improves mental focus and concentration
Stretching is easy to do and is used with controlled breathing to maximize the benefits. When you read the purposes and benefits it is a short step to incorporating massage as a stretching aid.
Passive Vitality – Thank Stretching!
There are two kinds of stretching: active and passive. Active is when you control the muscle stretch yourself. Active types includes yoga and posing.
There is also passive stretching. Passive is when someone else moves your muscle. Massage is one example. A massage improves the benefits of stretching threefold.
- Achieve a greater muscle stretch
- Control of stretch intensity
- Increased relaxation during stretch
A massage therapist is able to focus on isolated muscles or the whole body. A massage brings the body back into balance so that muscles are properly aligned. A massage can realign scar tissue with gentle force over a period of time as suppleness is restored to the skin.
A massage therapist will make sure you don’t overdo muscle stretching if you are recovering from an illness, an athlete between workouts or not in good condition. The potential of muscle damage due to stretching is eliminated by a massage.
The benefits of combining stretching and massage include improving blood pressure and heart rate. You may believe that only people who excessively exercise have good body tone, but that is not true.
Stretching can slowly lead to aerobic exercise but along the way your body will experience greater muscle tone. A massage may be passive stretching, but it offers active vitality in your life.
Controlling the Results – Being Limber and Loose
Like everything else in life, there is a right way and a wrong way to stretch. Naturally, the benefits are greater if you follow expert tips.
- Warm-up your muscles beforehand to prevent muscle tearing
- Don’t try to do too much too early
- Don’t overstretch your muscles
- Learn proper techniques
- You should never experience pain
- Tell a massage therapist about any muscle problems you have
If you learn how to stretch properly, there is almost no chance of injury. If you get a massage, stretching after the massage on your own enhances the massage benefits. The good processes stimulated by the massage are increased with continued stretching.
Stretching and massage are two wonderful techniques for improving muscle operation. It is our muscles that protect our vital organs and allow mobility. Taking care of your muscles, and your general welfare, through stretching only makes sense. It takes just 10 minutes a day to improve the rest of your life. That’s a bargain from any viewpoint.