Point to remember for stretching:
Icing. If your muscle is sore or you have an injury, try icing the muscles before and after your workout to reduce pain and swelling. This is best done with ice packs, gel packs, or bags of frozen peas wrapped in a thin towel. Place the pack on the affected area for 10-20 minutes every few hours for several days, or until the pain is gone.
Be sure to stretch after a workout when your muscles are warm and pliable. But don’t make stretching the only activity in your cool-down routine: Try light walking, jogging, or cycling – any lower-intensity moves that allow your body to slowly return to a normal state will help you recover from a workout and ward off muscle soreness.
Stretching can help you improve flexibility, reduce muscular pain and soreness, prevent injury during exercise, and maintain physical fitness. The following stretches will benefit anyone who wants to increase their flexibility.
There are a variety of nutrients that aid in the process of stretching. Some key nutrients include:
a) Calcium – The mineral calcium is needed to maintain strong bones and teeth, as well as healthy muscles and nerves. There are many different types of calcium supplements available on the market to help you meet your recommended daily intake.
b) Vitamin D – Vitamin D is important for muscle strength, bone strength, immune system function, and heart health. To avoid vitamin D deficiency, try to get at least 15 minutes of sun exposure per day, drink plenty of liquids (including milk), eat meals containing a balance of foods containing vitamin D, and take a supplement if necessary.
c) Protein – Protein is important because it helps the body repair muscles and other tissues after a workout. It is also needed to maintain strong bones and teeth, manage weight, and/or assist in blood cell production. When choosing a protein supplement, look for one that is low in calories and sugar (especially the sugar called sucrose) and high in fiber to avoid the harmful effects of fat storage.
There are a few pieces of equipment you may find helpful when stretching:
a) A strap or the handle of a resistance band can help you hold onto your leg or arm while you stretch.
b) A foam roller is a cylinder-shaped piece of foam that can be used to massage and stretch the muscles.
c) An exercise ball can be used to stretch and strengthen the muscles in your back, neck, and hips.
d) A pillow or cushion can help you get into certain positions that may otherwise be uncomfortable.
e) Yoga blocks are thin, rectangular pieces of wood used in yoga to help you reach for your feet when bending over, and they can also be used to make other stretching exercises more comfortable.