What does it mean when you “stretch your muscles”?

Friday, October 15th, 2021

Stretching is defined as the gradual and gentle lengthening of muscle tissues, which often results in increased flexibility. More specifically, stretching is done to improve the range of motion. The main point of stretching is to relax tense or overworked muscles by lengthening them so they don’t feel “tight,” which can prevent or reduce pain.

The fact is, stretching plays a large role in being healthy. In the past, people believed that you needed to stretch before doing any type of exercise, but it has been proven that stretching beforehand isn’t necessary. However, stretching is recommended for people constantly dealing with muscle tension (e.g. office workers), to prepare the body for activity, and to help relax the muscles after physical activity.

Types of stretching

Many don’t know that there are two types of stretching: dynamic stretching and static stretching.
Dynamic stretching involves moving stretches through large ranges of motion, whereas static stretching involves relaxing into stretches that are held for a certain amount of time. There is plenty of debate about which type is better to do before activity, but the main point is to stretch either way after physical activity.

Why stretching is important

Stretching can be beneficial in many different ways. It has been shown to reduce fatigue, reduce the effects of aging (increase range of motion), and improve mood (by increasing serotonin levels). Stretching is also used to improve sports performance because it reduces muscular tension. If you’re involved in any physical activity, stretching can help increase your strength; without flexibility, people cannot use their full strength.

Even when you are not participating in physical activity, your muscles need to be stretched to remain healthy. Muscle tightness, or the feeling of “tightness,” is actually a symptom of muscle tension, which can lead to pain and reduced performance. Muscle tension also increases with age, which is why it’s especially important for older adults to maintain strong muscles with stretching.
Being sedentary, which includes sitting at a desk all day, also leads to muscle tension. Thus, even people who exercise regularly can benefit from regular stretching to avoid the problems described above.

Contact the specialists at Back To Basics!

Stretching is beneficial in many ways and is a vital part of everyday life. Stretching after physical activity is important to the body, but it’s also important to keep muscles flexible even if you’re not exercising. Let our trained massage therapists help you with stretching or with a relaxing massage. Call us today at 806.322.3706.