Try stretching those tight muscles to relieve aches and pains

stretchIf you’ve never worked stretching it into your routine, now’s a good time to start.

Stretching doesn’t take much time, but carries big benefits. It increases blood flow through the muscles and improves range of motion.

If you’re like most of us, you spend most of your day hunched at a desk. Sitting at a computer for long periods can cause muscle imbalance, making you vulnerable to back injuries.

Stretching your tight muscles and strengthening your opposing muscle groups will restore your body’s balance.

There are a number of types of stretches you can do, but the most common are dynamic, static and ballistic stretches.

>> Dynamic stretches call for controlled movement that takes the muscle slightly past its normal end range with repetitive movements. A good example would be arm circles or walking knee hugs.

>> Ballistic stretching involves using momentum to stretch your muscles, such as bouncing up and down to touch your toes. This stretch is not recommended for everyone and can result in injury.

>> Static stretches hold a muscle in a lengthened position for a desired length time to help the muscle increase its blood flow. A hamstring stretch, for example, involves sitting on the ground with one leg in front of you and bending forward while keeping your back straight.

When performing static stretches, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends holding your position for 10-30 seconds at a mild discomfort. If you feel as though the stretch is painful, ease up a bit.

Performing stretches every day is ideal. But if you’re just starting out, shoot for two to three times a week. A little can go a long way.

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