Stretching is important before any type of workout or athletic contest, but before you start with the back bends, hurdler’s stretches, and torso twists, be sure to follow this one simple tip that can make all the difference.
Before you start stretching, be sure that you do a warm up. A warm up can be as simple as a light jog, jumping jacks, a few sit ups, or push ups. The point is that warming up helps prepare your muscles for workout by increasing blood flow. It also gets your heart rate up, which can prepare your body for your workout. Your warm up should be just to the point of breaking a sweat. Don’t go overboard, as that could actually cause muscle injury.
If you skip warming up, your body takes on something called the stretch reflex. Stretch reflex is an automatic response caused when the nerve fibers in your muscles are stretched. This in turn causes your muscle to contract against the direction of the muscle stretch, which could then lead to a mile pulled muscle or other strain. By doing a warm up, you actually help your muscles relax and become loose so that when you do stretch, you’re in complete control of your body.
Do yourself a favor. Before you stretch, give yourself time to warm up. Not only will it improve stretching, but it’ll also have a positive impact on your workout.