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Stretching Mistakes You Should Avoid

Done properly, stretching can do wonders for your physical and mental health. That being said, making mistakes while doing stretching exercises is all too common. If you want to maximize the results, you’ll enjoy mid back stretches or yoga poses. Then you need to avoid making these errors. To help you out, below are some of the most common stretching mistakes people make.

Not Warming Up

A lot of people think that warm-ups and stretches are one and the same. And for the most part, they’re not wrong. However, if you truly want to enjoy the full benefits of your favorite stretches, then you need to have a different routine for your warm-ups.

So instead of doing basic stretches to warm up before a workout, do other activities instead. Try light aerobics like jumping jacks, brisk walking, and jogging. Aside from improving your heart and respiratory rates, these can loosen up your muscles as well. This will allow you to increase the benefits you’ll get from your stretching exercises, and it will help you avoid getting injured as you go.

Allotting Little Time

It’s one thing to not stretch at all and quite another to stretch just for a few minutes. Just because you swung your arms for a bit doesn’t mean you’ve stretched it enough to improve its flexibility.

Like it or not, stretching is an important part of your workout routine. So it should be a full-body experience, with each stretching exercise allotted enough time. The amount of time will depend on what kind of stretches you’ll be doing. For example, static stretches normally need 30 to 60 seconds, while dynamic ones need more. At any rate, you should invest more time to do stretches.

Bouncing While Stretching

Many people tend to bounce while doing stretches. But no matter how tempted you are to follow suit, you should never bounce while stretching.

Bouncing while stretching will signal your brain to tighten your muscle to protect them from harm. This will make doing the stretching even harder, and it can lessen the results you’ll enjoy from each exercise. Moreover, bouncing during stretches might cause you to overexert yourself, leading to injury. So best keep yourself still and avoid bouncing, no matter how tempted you are.

Forgetting to Breathe

To maximize the benefits you’ll get from stretching (not to mention make the entire routine easier), you need to pair it with proper breathing. Unfortunately, many people forget to do this.

Regularly inhaling and exhaling during stretching and workouts help optimize your performance. Aside from making sure your body gets enough oxygen to keep at it, it also enables your brain to function properly during the session. So make it a point to synchronize your breathing with your stretches and workouts. Start with baby steps (i.e., slow movements and stretches), then work your way up from there.

Stretching Until It Hurts

Another wrong notion people have about stretching is that it needs to be painful to be successful. Nothing could be further from the truth! Aside from being downright uncomfortable, stretching until it hurts could potentially lead to injuries.

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Pain acts as a sign that your body is at its limits. If you don’t heed its warnings, then any benefits you’ll get from stretching will be negated by possible injuries. So know your limits and do your stretches as humanly and as comfortably as possible. Yes, stretching can cause a bit of discomfort, especially if you’ve just started. But that doesn’t mean it should hurt.

Not Starting With the Basics

A lot of people proceed with doing complex stretching exercises in their haste to achieve their ideal physique. But if you’ve just started making stretching part of your fitness regime, then you need to learn the basics first.

By starting with basic stretches, you’ll be able to condition your body gently, gradually preparing it for more complicated techniques. Also, it helps you avoid getting injured since many of the more complex stretching moves out there require an instructor. Plus, it will help you keep your stretching routine simple and achievable. At any rate, you need to understand that stretching will take time and effort to achieve results; you need to be patient with it.

Not Doing the Appropriate Stretches

Lastly, you should know that there are many types of stretching exercises out there. While all of them can greatly help you out, you should only do the ones that will best meet your needs and avoid making stretching mistakes.

For example, if you’re suffering from middle back pain, you need to focus on stretches designed to soothe that. You should avoid exercises that can worsen your back pain, including back arches, full squats, and what-not. Meanwhile, pregnant women should only do stretches when recommended by a doctor or physical therapist, such as those at Integrative Physical Therapy. And even then, they should focus on exercises that will suit their needs for each trimester.

The Takeaway

Avoid these stretching mistakes like the plague, and you’ll be able to maximize the results of all that training. This will eventually lead to you enjoying a better physical and mental life, alongside a plethora of other desirable benefits.

Featured Image by Ryan McGuire from Pixabay