The Importance of Stretching Exercises
Have you ever wondered why whenever you start to exercise your muscles hurt so much after? Do you know that ballet dancers would almost always do stretching exercises before and after practicing a dance routine? That's because stretching makes the muscles more flexible to the rigorous ballet dance routines that they do. Stretching helps prevent injuries to our bones and muscles as we exercise, lift or carry heavy loads, even when we do our household chores like reaching out to get things from a tall storage bin, or bend over to get something on the floor. We need our muscles and joints to move freely to a full range of motion. To many women who are menopausal, this is a challenge as the bones and muscles grow weaker and less pliable. That is why stretching exercises are extremely important.
Stretching first thing in the morning is a good way to wake up our tired muscles. It helps lengthen tight muscles which keep it stronger. Also stretching is recommended and much needed before and after exercise. Here are the kinds of stretching exercises:
1) Static Stretching -- refers to passive stretching where a stretch is held in a specific location for a certain time.
2) Ballistic or Bouncing Stretching --refers to dynamic muscular movement, such as the bouncing bent over hamstring stretch for advanced athletes.
We need to do dynamic stretching (arm circles, trunk rotations, etc.) before exercise and static or passive stretching when our muscles are warm which is after exercising.
Here's a simple stretching exercise: