Unravelling Immune System Boosters: The Surprising Stuff You Did...
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During the day we make ourselves smaller more often than not: hunched over at our desks, scrolling through social media on our phones, and leaning back on the couch in the evening to zap through a series of TV shows.
Not surprisingly, more and more people are suffering from imbalances. Examples are: hips permanently tilted too far forward, knees or ankles bent inwards, in some cases people's heads not on top of the torso but sticking out forwards, and of course; muscle flexibility. These imbalances are all caused by certain muscles being too tight, and other muscles being inactive or untrained.
Ask the average person how often he or she really stretches and you will probably get the answer 'hardly ever'. And that's a shame, because a healthy body should be flexible!
Even when someone does stretch, most do not do this very effectively. The few minutes of short stretching after a group lesson for example are often more beneficial for mentally ending the training and bringing the breathing down, than it is to actually lengthening muscles.
So, how should we actually stretch?
First, a fun fact: our body is biochemically greatly advanced and so it has all sorts of tricks, one of which is muscle spindles - these incredibly handy little muscle spindles detect stretches in your muscles, and keep you from stretching too far (muscle tears). So when you bend over to stretch your hamstrings for example, these muscle spindles tell you when you're at your maximum.
During a quick stretch after or before a gym session you might hold a stretch position for a few seconds, and that is good of course.. But, if you really want results and maintain a flexible body then you need an absolute minimum of 40 seconds of deep stretch per pose. The muscle spindles then get the chance to relax, so that the stretched muscle is not under tension. This causes the muscle to slowly 'let go' and stretch out longer, which is exactly what we want to achieve flexibility. There are tons of yoga and other stretching routines out there which are designed to get your results. Follow us on our socials to see our trainers share detailed stretching examples and more!