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9 Ways to Make Sure You’re Stretching the Right Way

9 Ways to Make Sure You’re Stretching the Right Way

Stretching is arguably the most important part of any exercise regimen. When you warm up your muscles and give them a good stretch, you lower the risk of injury, increase your flexibility, and increase circulation. That makes it very important to take stretching seriously. Here are some tips to make sure you’re stretching correctly.

1. Don’t stretch from cold

We’ll start out with one that is fairly obvious. Under no circumstances should you stretch from cold. The best practice is to do some light exercise for around ten minutes before you actually engage in stretching. When you exercise, it increases circulation and literally warms up the muscles. The warmth allows muscles to be more elastic and makes you far less prone to injury.

2. Work to reduce preparation stretches

Stretching is very important but overstretching can be just as harmful. Overstretching can also cause injuries, as well as long term damage if it happens too frequently. You should work to create a stretching regimen that is efficient. Stretch the most possible muscles in the fewest possible stretches to avoid overstretching.

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3. Move into and out of stretches slowly

This one is another that is pretty self-explanatory. When you begin your stretch you should move into position slowly. This allows you to test the waters to make sure you’re doing the stretch correctly. Once you’re finished, you’ll want to exit the stretch slowly as well, and for much the same reason. It’s fairly simple to understand. If you’re injured, moving into and out of stretches slowly can alert you to your injury before you reach a point of severe pain. It can also prevent injury.

4. Move into a stretch smoothly

When entering into a stretch, it’s important to do so smoothly. It’s not recommended to move in various directions or in awkward ways. It’s also important to finish a stretch before moving into another one. Not properly finishing and conducting your stretches can lead to injury.

5. Learn to tell the different types of pain

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Stretching pain

    If you are injured during a stretch, it feels different than other types of pain. There are three types of pain and when you hurt yourself stretching it is generally a different kind of pain than that of other injuries or conditions. You should identify the various types of pain and recognize when an injury is an injury.

    6. Use different types of stretches and use different positions

    Every now and then you should switch things up. Doing the same stretches over and over may rob you of the opportunity to stretch other muscles. There are a lot of them in the human body and even if it’s just a stretch every now and then, you should hit as many muscle groups as possible. Check out alternate stretches for other muscle groups so they all get a good stretch in sometimes.

    7. Make adjustments

    Along those same lines, you should make adjustments to your stretching regimen. If you feel like you’re not stretching one muscle group enough, then feel free to change it up to give those muscles more attention. You’re not married to your routine and you can change it whenever you need to. If you need to make some adjustments then make them!

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    8. Don’t be afraid to admit that you’re in pain

    Some people may want to try to play through the pain. That’s a terrible idea. It doesn’t take science to prove that trying to workout with any injury is just a bad idea. If you’re stretching and it hurts then it’s time to put the water bottle back in the fridge, hit the showers, and rest your injury.

    9. Don’t force anything

    Stretching

      The idea of stretching is to increase the elasticity and circulation in your muscles. If you start forcing things that aren’t supposed to occur it’s the equivalent of stretching a rubber band too far. The rubber band snaps and something similar could happen to your muscles. Never force a stretch. It’s among the most common ways people injure themselves when stretching. Like we say above, make sure you perform your stretches slowly and smoothly to avoid injury!

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      Wrap up

      There are a thousand different ways to stretch and it’s difficult to plan for all contingencies. However, if you follow these simple steps you can stay safe no matter what kind of stretching you do. Ultimately it’s all about maximizing your benefits from stretching while avoiding injury. In the end, if it feels right then keep doing it and if it doesn’t feel right then stop!

      Featured photo credit: Aamir Fitness via aamirfitness.com

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      Last Updated on October 16, 2018

      The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

      The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

      It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

      If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

      One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

      Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

      In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

      Why you can’t sleep through the night

      The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

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      Stress

      If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

      Exposure to blue light before sleep time

      We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

      While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

      Eating close to bedtime

      Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

      Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

      Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

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      Medical conditions

      In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

      The vicious sleep cycle

      The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

      Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

      You get a bad night’s sleep
      –> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
      –> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
      –> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

        You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

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        How to sleep better (throughout the night)

        To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

        1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

        What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

        Here are a few suggestions:

        • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
        • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
        • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
        • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
        • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

        2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

        What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

        • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
        • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
        • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
        • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

        3. Adjust your sleep temperature

        Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

        Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

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        Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

        Sleep better form now on

        Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

        I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

        As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

        Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

        Reference

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