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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 December 2, 2018

      How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

      How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

      Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

      The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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      The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

      Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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      Review Your Past Flow

      Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

      Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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      Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

      Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

      Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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      Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

      Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

      We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

      Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

        Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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