In regards to stretching, there’s lots of different opinions about the best way to improve mobility and flexibility. Some people have the idea that by doing the same stretches every day that the best results will be obtained, while others suggest that doing so could do more harm than good. This leads them to believe that you should alternate your stretches every time you exercise.
Strength Training is NOT Stretching
In all likelihood, this belief that you can’t stretch the same muscles two days in a row comes from the idea that you shouldn’t do strength training on the same muscles two days in a row. While this is true of strength training which works by damaging and then repairing and rebuilding muscle fibers, it’s not true of stretching, which when done properly, shouldn’t damage your muscle fibers.
The act of stretching does not damage muscle fibers at the cellular level the way strength training does. Instead, it gently pulls your muscles and lengthens the fibers while extending the range of motion in the nearby joints. For this reason, it’s not only safe but beneficial to stretch every day. One recent study even found that stretching muscles less than 6 times per week did nothing for them.
The aforementioned study analyzed the hamstring in the upper rear part of the leg because this large muscle is easiest to measure. Four sets of participants stretched the muscle at different intervals throughout the week. Some stretched every day while others stretched only 3 days per week. It was found that those that stretched every day improved the length of their muscle while those who only stretched 3 days had little improvement.
Why You Should Stretch Every Day
It’s crucial to be aware that while you may not be exercising every day, you are nonetheless moving your body and using your muscles every day, which is why it’s important to stretch those muscles every day if you want to get more flexible. You use your muscles while performing regular tasks every day, so as they get used, they are warmed up and ready to be stretched to facilitate more mobility and flexibility.
One more good reason to stretch daily is that it keeps you in the habit of doing it. Even if daily stretching is the only thing you do as far as exercise, it’s still very healthy and beneficial. However, if you only stretch 3 days a week, it’s easy to forget and get lazy about it. However, if you make it part of your daily routine, then it’s easier to remember and soon your day won’t feel complete without stretching.
What You Should Be Stretching Daily
Stretch everything every day ! You will get the best results this way. If you have specific body parts or muscles that you’re concerned about or want to focus on, then you may even want to do these twice per stretching session or twice per day. But, in general, it’s a good idea to make sure that every part of your body gets stretched every day.
In order to be sure that you stretch every part of your body every day, find a routine to follow, whether you go along with a DVD or create a written list of your favorite stretches that cover every major muscle group. By doing the same thing every day, this will further help you establish a routine and will help you make sure that you cover every body part or group of muscles each and every day.
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