Monday, November 8, 2010

Stretching Fitness Exercises for More Flexibility and Muscle Injury Prevention

Do you know the best way of incorporating stretching exercises in your fitness training program to reap maximum benefits? Well, there are many types of exercises that can be included in your fitness exercise program depending on your objectives. However, whatever your reasons for exercising are, you cannot in any way avoid stretching exercises because they make your training easier and smooth for better results. When your muscles have not been used for quite some time, they become weaker and stiffer. This potentially increases the likelihood of getting your muscles injured incase you suddenly start to use them. Using your muscles subjects them to contractions and if extremely sudden can get them torn to make you suffer severe injuries. Stretching exercises keep your muscles ready and flexible for use in many ways because it lengthens and strengthens them to avoid injuries.
At the beginning of any fitness training program, be it for weight loss, bodybuilding, toning and firming to shape up, you must mainly perform stretching exercises which serve to prepare your muscles for other types of exercises which subject them to contractions. By stretching your muscles, you make them more flexible and capable of contracting and relaxing back to normal without building up any tension which might lead to injuries and unbearable pain. These flexibility exercises should at least run for a week or two before introducing other types of exercises such as strength and cardiovascular exercises. However, the introduction of other exercises should not bring to an end stretching exercises. Perhaps only the frequency should be minimized to allow time for other exercises.
While some types of exercises like strength exercises are better performed only a few days a week, stretching exercise will not harm if performed at a higher frequency. However, 1 or 2 exercise free days in a week or any other reasonable period of time is good as it allows your muscles some time to repair or refresh. Stretching exercises should be performed in between other exercise workouts in order to avoid muscle injuries or what is often referred to as muscle sores. When lifting weights for instance, your muscles may be subjected to very tight contractions and therefore need to be immediately stretched. Failure to include stretching exercises in between your workouts can potentially lead to muscle imbalances and a poor body shape. This can be more noticeable with bodybuilders if they neglect stretching in their workouts.
Your stretching exercises should target all the body muscle groups and especially those previously used while exercising. It is advisable to stretch and extend your muscles up to reasonable limits which do not cause injuries or pain while doing so. For maximum benefits, try to hold your stretches up to a few minutes and challenge yourself to gradually increase the stretching limits, duration and their frequencies without overdoing them. Avoid suddenly bouncing into stretches as this can also lead to muscle injuries. Only begin slowly then gradually stretch your muscles to their new limits. If done properly, stretching exercises also increase your performance in other types of exercises. Sportsmen too warm up with stretching exercises and continue to stretch afterwards to avoid muscle injuries.

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