Good health does not come to those who wait. As tempting as it is to believe otherwise, a strong, healthy body can only be achieved through hard work and dedication. Without making a purposeful effort to live a healthy lifestyle, even people who have been blessed with natural health and good genes will eventually experience problems.
This is especially true in the modern world, where sedentary lifestyles, low nutrition diets, poor sleep habits, stress, pollution, and a variety of other factors all contribute to a number of common health problems. Even as we conquer and cure hundreds of formerly incurable conditions, the rate of relatively preventable diseases such as obesity, hypertension, and heart disease are skyrocketing!
The point is, actively taking charge of your health is one of the best decisions you will ever make.
And since you’re already here, reading Top Fitness Magazine, it’s probably safe to assume you understand the basics of a healthy lifestyle. So we won’t preach about the importance of a healthy and balanced diet, or the necessity of regular exercise, or the harmful effects of tobacco, alcohol, sleep deprivation, etc. However, one important aspect of healthy living that is often misunderstood, even by many fitness enthusiasts, is stretching. So without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the most important facts about stretching that you should know:
So why is stretching important for your health?
First of all, as you probably already know, it helps promote flexibility. This will make your workouts more comfortable while also reducing your risk for many types of injury. Loosening your muscles can also have a positive psychological effect, improving your mood considerably. Stretching also helps improve circulation, which contributes to better cardiovascular health, lower cholesterol, and better stamina.
Is stretching really a good warm up activity?
One of the biggest misconceptions about stretching is the notion that static stretching (i.e. holding a stretch position for an extended period of time) is a good way to get ready for a workout. In reality, static stretching should only be performed once the muscles have already been limbered up through light cardio and/or with dynamic stretching. Doing otherwise can be dangerous, as it puts you at risk for a pull or strain.
Dynamic stretching versus static stretching.
For warming up, dynamic stretching is the way to go. Involving light movement and easier stretching positions than static stretching, dynamic stretching helps get your blood flowing and loosens up the muscles so you will be ready to exert yourself. Though static stretching wins in terms of creating long-term results, dynamic stretching is a safer and more effective way to start your workouts — static stretching works best as part of your cool-down routine.
Are you ready to make stretching an important part of your healthy lifestyle? Here are a few resources from Top Fitness Magazine that can help you do just that!
- The best stretches for a cool-down session.
- Simple stretches you can do from your office chair
- A guide to choosing your first yoga class.
Good luck, and happy stretching!