The Importance of Stretching
If you do it right, stretching takes time.Â Â Â Â Â
"The problem is, that a lot of people get very impatient with stretching," said Jim Thornton, Head Athletic Trainer for Clarion University in Pennsylvania. Â Â
He says proper stretching can increase flexibility, balance and coordination and decrease risk of injury during exercise. Thornton's athletes actually warm up before stretching.Â Â Â
"We may ask them to jog, we may ask them to get on a stairmaster for five minutes. Just enough to get the juices flowing and get their body temperature up just a little bit," Thornton said.
Then, he recommends five to ten minutes of what he calls dynamic stretching.Â Â Â
"A walking lunge, for example, would be a great dynamic stretch for hamstrings, quadripceps, hip flexors, gluteus maximus, all of those muscles of the hip and legs," he said.
A static stretch, which elongates tissue, should be used after working out. Thornton says it's important to hold the stretch for at 30 seconds to be most effective.Â Don't bounce as you stretch, it could create small tears in the muscle. If you feel any pain, you've probably gone too far and you should scale back on the intensity.
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