Unravelling Immune System Boosters: The Surprising Stuff You Did...
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Reasons to stretch are endless: creating a greater range of motion to improve your strength training, becoming more flexible to go deeper into your yoga poses or working on mobility to move more easily in everyday life. Each goal has a different approach. There are static stretches (stretching muscles by holding a position), dynamic stretches (stretching and relaxing muscles alternately in motion), and myofascial release (physical therapy through foam rollers) for example. Although there are multiple roads to Rome, there is one tip you can always apply.
The human body could have been an Apple design: infinite cleverness and sleek features that blend together flawlessly. For example, there are senses that allow you to feel and see where your body is in a room to prevent you from putting your foot down wrong. But also deeper in the body are nerves that measure when muscles are about to stretch too much and, to prevent them from tearing off, send signals to tighten the muscle again. And last but not least, other nerves do the opposite. Namely, signal when a muscle is tightening too much and signal that relaxation is needed.
If you're stuck with a muscle, can't seem to get more flexible, or just looking for a good stretching tip. here it comes! You can make smart use of the latter two nerves. This takes a little practice, but it can help you tremendously with your stretch goals and is done as follows:
When you are in a stretch and almost at your max, you automatically feel tension on the stretched muscle. Your body now thinks: no more! However, if you tighten the opposite muscle in the same position, the stretched muscle will relax after a while. This means you can (gently) go deeper into your stretch again.
For example, if you stretch your hamstrings (sit with your legs stretched out on flat ground & touch your feet), then tighten your quadriceps (pull your kneecap up). After a second or two, the major tension on your hamstrings will disappear and you can stretch a little further. Good luck!