Follow a few basic stretching rules and you might improve the function and health of your muscles.
Stretching can help decrease tension and might help improve your posture. A stretching session during a workout can give you energy and improve your range of motion. Regular stretching can help all of your muscle groups work together to support your various movements. Stretching also might help reduce post-workout soreness. There is a right way to stretch, and when you know the techniques, you are less likely to injure yourself by stretching beyond your ability.
Forcible stretching of your muscles can cause strain. A strain occurs when one of your muscles tears. Common symptoms of a muscle strain include pain, swelling, muscle spasms and a decreased ability to move your muscle. If you forced your muscle to stretch too far and developed a strain, rest is the first course of treatment. Take your weight off your injured muscle and put ice on the injury to help reduce swelling. Over-the-counter pain medications might help ease your pain.
Learn proper stretching techniques to help prevent a muscle strain. MayoClinic notes that you should not use stretching as a warm-up activity. You run the risk of injury if you stretch cold muscles. Instead, warm up before you stretch to help protect the muscles from strain. Stretch both sides of your body equally and aim to stretch two or three times each week. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds and repeat each stretch three or four times.
Do not stretch an injured muscle because this can lead to additional injury. Instead, if you force your muscle to stretch farther than you should have, rest the muscle until the pain and swelling eases. When you stretch, you should not feel pain. If you do feel pain, you are forcing your muscle to stretch too far. Aim to feel tension, but if your muscle hurts, ease the stretch a bit. Don’t bounce your muscles when you stretch, either. This can cause small tears in your muscle or might cause you to force the stretch too far.
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