5 stretching mistakes you’re probably making without paying close attention to.

There are many mistakes we make while trying to strecth ourselves without noticing, and this prompted us to an expert on stretching mistakes and how to avoid them. <br>Enjoy your reading!

You are aware that stretching is a good idea, but should you do it before or after working out? And should they be static or dynamic stretches? Most likely, you're not stretching properly, so to sort fact from myth, we consulted- Aida Yahaya, the founder of Good Stretch. 


Stretching is essential to maintaining the strength and flexibility of the muscles, according to Harvard Health. Without stretching, your muscles may shorten and tighten. The tight muscle won't be able to fully extend when you need that muscle to work hard later—like when you're running outside or working out in the gym—putting you at danger of joint pain, strains, and muscle injury. 


However, you might not be stretching properly if all you do before getting in the shower after a run is a few static calf stretches. Discover the five stretching errors you're undoubtedly committing by reading on.

Below are the 5 stretching mistakes you might have been making:


1. Warming up tense muscles 

Yahaya clarifies, "Yes, you do need to warm up before you stretch. "A pre-stretching warm-up will raise your body's core temperature to make muscles more flexible and to stimulate blood flow to the surrounding muscles and connective tissue, minimizing your risk of injury and enabling you to stretch more efficiently." 

Consider performing a few gentle yoga poses before you begin stretching, or go for a short walk outside before stretching when you get back. This doesn't have to be a lot of work.


2. Using the muscles too much 

What is Yahaya's key directive for stretching? It shouldn't ever hurt. Stretching may make you feel a little uneasy, but it shouldn't hurt, she says. "Be careful not to overexert your body, and always move within your natural range of motion. Repeat your stretches several times without pushing too hard if you feel tightness in one particular muscle area. If necessary, switch to a different stretch that targets the same area without tightness before trying again. 

If stretching is entirely new to you, start out slowly and work your way up, just as with any other activity. Make sure to vary your practice and avoid stretching the same muscles repeatedly when performing static or dynamic stretches.

3. Jumping while extending 

Something that Yahaya would never want to witness? holding a stretch while bouncing. According to her, "bouncing during stretching can actually be hazardous since it might result in muscles and tendons tearing." "A bouncing action can force your body's muscles to tighten in an effort to protect you, and it can also cause you to stretch too deeply, increasing the possibility of sprains, strains, or rips," according to the Mayo Clinic.

Yahaya advises easing into the stretch gradually rather than bouncing. Instead of bouncing your fingertips all the way to your toes, for instance, if you're performing a forward fold to stretch your lower back, just hold it as long as you can for 10 to 15 seconds, release, and repeat. Next time, try to extend your reach, but if you are unable to, don't be too concerned.


4. Exercising while holding your breath 

Yahaya cautions against holding your breath when stretching because doing so will tense your muscles and reduce their flexibility. Take deep, steady breaths instead, preferably via your nose, which also has the added advantage of reducing stress. With each cycle of inhaling and exhaling, you might discover that you can relax into your stretch a little bit more.

Regular stretching has the added benefit of reducing stress, so instead of thinking of your post-run stretch as something to complete quickly, take your time and use it as a chance to relax. 


5. Stretching a muscle that is sore 

Last but not least, never ever extend a muscle that has been injured. Yahaya encourages people who are injured to refrain from extending until the affected area has completely healed. If you don't, your injury could worsen and more tendon or tissue damage could result.

While maintaining a regular stretching routine can help you stay injury-free, it's better to give your body time to recover after an accident. Before returning to any exercise after an injury, including stretching, it's always a good idea to consult with your doctor or physiotherapist if you have any questions.

Peter Akinlabi

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