June 17, 2008
Many people don’t take the time to stretch their muscles before and after exercise and then they wonder why they are getting injured all the time. It only takes minutes to stretch your muscles and by doing so you will pump more blood into the area that needs it thereby reducing the chance of injury.
Considering the time it takes to recover from injury and the loss of valuable fitness training, stretching is something that should never be left out of any training routine.
It is just as important to stretch whether you are on a resistance-training program or simply going for a walk. Many different muscles are activated with the various types of exercise we do and it is essential to target those muscles when stretching.
If you are intending to do a heavy weight session on the lower body then you would need to warm up your leg muscles with some time on a stationary bike and then possibly touching your toes to limber up your lower back and hamstrings.
If you are going for a run, you would also need to stretch your legs, and in particular your hamstrings, where many runners have problems. Tight hamstrings can also create problems with your lower back so often the problem is coming from an area other than where the pain is felt.
Stretching should always be light and never forced as that alone can cause more injury than some of the exercises we perform. You should never bounce when stretching either as this can tear muscles or strain them enough that they will tear during the course of training.
If you are doing resistance training it is wise to start the first movement of any exercise with little or no weight to get the blood into your muscles and warm them up for the heavier weights that are to follow.
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