Stretching For Fitness
An ideal fitness routine comprises of exercises to improve cardiovascular efficiency, create muscular strength and endurance along with improved suppleness. Flexibility exercises are those that serve to keep the joints flexible, especially the vertebral column and its various sections.
Stretching independently or as a part of a fitness routine has many beneficial effects that can be felt even during exercises themselves. In order to understand the benefits of stretching or flexibility exercises, it is essential to understand how the various body tissues are nourished.
What happens when you stretch?
As in case of muscles which receive their nutrients directly via the vascular system through rapid exchange rhythm, there is no such active supply system for cartilage tissues covering the ends of bones in joints. Cartilage instead is fed by the migration of particles from the joint fluid surrounding it, known as the synovial fluid. To be able to absorb the synovial fluid optimally, the cartilage has recourse to an alteration of pressure and suction forces.
It is precisely this regular rhythmic exchange optimizing the supply to the cartilage that is achieved with the flexibility exercises. Indulging in regular stretching exercises leads to enhanced cartilage nutrition and loosening up of all the connective tissues. While performing stretching exercises both outward and inward concentration is necessary.
Remember these stretching tips when doing the following exercises:
- Always warm up before stretching. Warming up gives your body a chance to deliver plenty of nutrient rich blood to areas about to be exercised, which warms the muscles and lubricates the joints
- Do not bounce or bob when you stretch -- not only is this not effective, but you could injure yourself.
- Take each stretch slow to the point where tension can be felt, but not pain.
- Never stretch torn or injured muscles unless you have consulted with your doctor.
- Hold each stretch for 20 to 30 seconds.
- Always complete each stretch for both sides of your body, when applicable.
- Always cool down and relax after a stretching routine. By cooling down, you can help prevent injuries and muscle soreness from your workout.
About the Author
Ms Namita Nayyar is the creator behind WF, has studied in-depth about nutrition, both normal, therapeutic and exercises. President of Women Fitness (WF), she is the author of the "on-line book" on complete fitness. She has designed the customized strength training, cardiovascular training and flexibility training programs and has trained many women in this field. She is a certified Aerobics & Fitness Instructor certified from International Fitness Association (IFA).