How Many Days A Week Should You Stretch.
We all stretch but we stretch in different ways and to different levels. What do we do first thing in the morning when we awake, we push our arms in the air, yawn and stretch. It’s the first steps we take to waking up our bodies from their nightly slumber.
Having a good level of flexibility is a great asset to anyone involved in sport, regardless of your level, discipline or sport. But how many days a week should you stretch? Our bodies are unique machines, it requires food for energy and to facilitate effective repairs.
To keep our bodies healthy we should exercise on a regular basis. This should be backed up by an effective stretching program. That targets all the major muscle groups of the body. This article is about stretching, more importantly how many days a week should you stretch!
Defined Muscles Shouldn’t Be Stiff – Ripped and Soft.
We are all encouraged to workout, which is necessary to keep our hearts healthy. There’s nothing wrong with that, we just need to understand that regular workouts will make us fit. It’s great for our hearts but unfortunately it can make our muscles stiff.
Stiff muscles can lead to poor performance and even cause injuries to occur. Adding a stretching program to your workout is the effective solution to this problem. Take the time to stretch on every workout you do. In effect it’s a catch 22 because we all want to look good. We all want our bodies to be trim and in all honesty that is what drives 99.5% of people to work out.
I would like to say it’s because they want to be healthy but I would be so wrong.
The key to achieving good flexibility is in how much you stretch and the quality of your stretching.
Who Should Stretch and Why – The Benefits Will Astound You!
The answer to this simple heading is everyone should stretch. When I say everyone I mean everyone, from children to adults. It doesn’t matter what sport you are involved in, everyone should have a stretching program. If my memory serves me well, my first encounter with any form of stretching routine was at primary school. The routine was very simple but at such an early age I didn’t know much better.
As I got older and took a greater interest in sport I realised that my very first introduction to stretching had barely scratched the surface.
This became apparent after taking a few martial arts classes, the difference a good stretching routine made was fantastic! After settling into my stretching routine I was able to kick high, with good balance and I felt so relaxed for it too!
The Advantages Of Having Supple Muscles – Improved Balance.
My participation in sport as got me in touch with a variety of people from all walks of life. The ones that I have treasured the most was physiotherapists. I have picked up a lot of things from these guys, things like why we should all stretch. The main reason given was to keep us supple and the consequences of not being supple.
Did you know that 99% of knee pain comes from having very stiff quadriceps? Or having very tight hamstrings can lead to severe back pain! Well it’s true and having a good level of flexibility could avoid any such problems occurring.
This is just a few reasons why you should stretch and none of it involves sport. Stretching for martial arts training is very important. In fact I would say it is an important part of your training, for the simple reason that your body will perform better with flexible muscles.
The martial art style that thrive on flexibility is Taekwondo. This is a Korean kicking style, they often demonstrate their ability to perform high kicks and drills. But stretching is for everyone and everyone should do it.
Flexibility is Work In Progress – It Wont Happen Over Night!
In order to improve your flexibility you need to stretch slowly. The whole process of stretching can take a long time and to see the benefits can take even longer!
Never less I would urge anyone looking to improve their flexibility to take it slow. Stretch every other day and vary your routine. Remember that to be flexible you need to stretch your muscles, not tendons or ligaments. This is very important!
The process of stretching can be quite complexed but I’m going to give you the simple version.
A Basic Hamstring Stretch.
This is an example of how you should stretch your hamstring.
- First perform a quick warm up, run or skip. Approximately 5 minutes should be enough.
- Place your leg on a stair or chair, aim to be around waist height.
- Gently lean towards your out stretched leg.
- Do not bounce. Try to stay relaxed.
- Let your body tell you when it’s ready for you to go lower.
- Repeat the process approximately 3 times to gain improvement.
This is a very simple template for you to work with. I would advise you to give all muscle groups the same amount of time, to keep them improving at the same rate.
Tendons play a vital role in our bodies. They help to stabilise our joints, so stretching them could cause us major joint problems. The best guidance I can give you here is to listen to your body. When you stretch correctly there shouldn’t be any pain.
You should feel uncomfortable but not in pain, most people get this wrong and end up looking like they have just entered a gurning competition.
Little and Often Is The Key.
As I have mentioned earlier, your stretching routine should be performed slowly. Work on each muscle group in turn to achieve the best results. Over a 7-day week I would suggest that you stretch a couple of times a week and also allow for rest days.
Rest days are very important for recovery, which we all need for our bodies to repair and recover. Our bodies are complexed machines that we take for granted. We abuse them in all kinds of ways and never really give a thought on the damage we might be doing.
Take your time and always remember to work with your body, not against it.
Thank you for taking the time to read my article. I hope you have a clear understanding of how many days a week you should stretch and why.
If for any reason you are still unsure please leave me a message or comment and I will reply as soon as possible.