When I was young and actively involved in athletics I always remember warming up and cooling down properly with stretching. So I feel I have alway been aware of the importance of stretching but most people neglect it. It is a vital part of being physically active. You cannot be strong with muscles or aerobically fit without also working on your flexibility. Our mobility is something that starts to deteriorate when we get older but it is something that needs to be worked on every day in order to achieve our full range of motion. Without daily practice the joints and muscles become shorter and tight. This puts you at risk of injury or pain. Although it may sound time consuming, it is essential to feeling good. While most people sit at a desk all day, this can cause the hamstrings to become extremely tight. While flexibility won't happen overnight or even weeks, it will take months and dedication to reach good flexibility and then it will need continuous work to maintain it.
Hamstring stretch -
- Sit on the floor with your legs in front of you.
- Slide your hands down your legs until you feel a nice intense stretch.
- Hold for 30 seconds, then slowly return to a sitting position.
- Repeat on both legs 3 times
Always warm up the body before stretching, research suggests that warming up on cold muscles can actually damage them. Skip, walk fast, jog, plyo movements all are good options of warming up before stretching. Always consult your doctor or physio before you start any new movements or if you experience pain.
The list of stretches are endless so do your research and get stretching daily.