Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Stretching Will Enhance Your Flexibility While Exercising

Q: I am an active woman with a busy schedule and I exercise four to six times a week. Recently, I noticed that my flexibility has decreased somewhat. This confuses me because I always thought that regular exercise improved flexibility. What's going on? A: First, I have to give you credit for maintaining a regular exercise routine. Keep up the good work! Based on your information, I suggest that you incorporate stretches as part of your workout routine. Flexibility is enhanced by using a variety of stretching methods. It is best to stretch before and after each work-out. Stretching before a work out prepares your body to take on a work load, helping to avoid sudden shock to you body. It is important to stretch at the end also when your muscles and connective tissues are warm and well-oxygenated. That way it is easier to elongate the musculotendinous unit, which lengthens the actual muscle fiber and increases range of motion. Specific benefits of regular stretching, which improves overall flexibility, include: increased physical efficiency and performance, decreased risk of injury, increased blood supply and nutrients to joint structure, increased neuromuscular coordination and improved muscular balance and postural awareness. These benefits contribute to exercise enjoyment. Your health club may have a poster in their fitness area explaining stretches for all major muscle groups. If your problem persists after stretching regularly, you would be wise to get specific training and advice from a fitness professional.”

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