How do you stretch your muscles?

Stretching is familiar to anyone who has attended a PE lesson at school at least once. The lesson must have started with a warm-up and muscle stretching.

Such exercises are needed to prepare the muscles, skeleton and respiratory system for the effort ahead. No athlete will start their training without a warm-up, which is simply to protect them from injury and muscle cramps. Stretching is also performed after exercise, this is to calm the blood pressure and causes the muscles that were tense during exercise to relax.

Stretching is also a set of exercises not only for professionals, but for everyone who cares about physical fitness. It is not necessary to do any sport, but only to stretch and flex the muscles for at least fifteen minutes a day in order to improve the efficiency and coordination of movement. This form of exercise should be preferred especially by older people or those with cardiovascular problems who cannot strain themselves. In rehabilitation clinics, stretching is the basis of therapy.

When we get down to stretching our muscles, we first need to warm them up, as well as our joints and tendons. A simple walk is sufficient for this; if you don't have the conditions, do it on the spot. Gradually add arm and leg extensions, or do so-called circles with all joints. 

Each exercise should be repeated several times, preferably until warmth is felt in every part of the body, only then can the actual stretching begin. The muscles should be stretched for about five seconds, each time trying to make it stronger, but enough so that it does not cause us paralysing pain, which discourages further exercise.

The first exercises should focus on the upper body, namely the arms and chest. For this purpose, you can use any wall in your house, a door or a doorframe. We stand slightly apart and, resting our straight arms on the surface, do something like push-ups. 

For the second exercise, stand with your back to the wall, rest your hands on it and do small squats. The next exercise is to raise one of your arms above your head, bend it, and with the other one held behind your head try to stretch the bent one by holding the elbow and pointing it towards your head. Stretch the thigh muscles (biceps and quadriceps) and back muscles by bending over. All you need to do is try to touch the ground with your hands while bending down. A similar exercise can be done while sitting, trying to touch your head to your knees and grab your ankles with your hands.

The next step in warming up the thighs is to draw the heel towards the buttocks by bending the leg at the knee. In order to warm up your calves, you should perform exercises that mimic walking up stairs. To perform such exercises correctly, it is best to initially enrol in some fitness club for a few instructional lessons. 

The benefits of this form of exercise are indisputable. Thanks to stretching, physical condition improves, muscles are stronger, stretched and blood circulated, the same is true of the joints, which have an improved range of movement and tendons are strengthened. Motor coordination and posture improve.

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