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Are you stretching the right way to avoid injury in your exercise routine?

by , 04 April 2013

There's no better way to boost your fitness than by upping the amount of exercise you do. Whether you go for formal, timed workouts in the gym or prefer to walk and cycle around the neighbourhood, there's one thing you shouldn't forget to do - stretch first to warm up your muscles and afterwards to help them cool down. But be careful, because stretching the wrong way actually puts you at risk of injuries like muscle tears!

If you’re sitting cramped over your desk, having a good stretch is a great way to re-energise and improve your posture again.
 
But not all stretching is good for you. 
 
For example, if you stretch before you lift weights, you could feel weaker and less stable during your workout, says the New Age.  
 
That’s because a study has found that stretched muscles are, in general, substantially less strong.
 
Added to this, stretching can actually injure your muscles if you’re too enthusiastic and stretch your muscles beyond the amount of tension that they can withstand, says AuroraHealthcare.
 
But that doesn’t mean you should stop stretching altogether.
 
So what’s the best way to stretch so that you get the most from your exercise workout?
 
A dynamic warm up of active isolated stretching is best before you exercise.
 
Instead of the typical ‘bend-and-hold’ type of stretching, use gentle, fluid repetitions of two- to three-second holds with more repetitions, adds The French Tribune. 
 
Then after exercise, cool down and hold a ‘static’ stretch only until you feel a slight pulling in the muscle, but no pain
 
As you hold the stretch, the muscle will relax, says About.SportsMedicine.
 
At the end of the day, it’s your choice whether you stretch or not – if it helps you warm up before and cool down after exercise, keep at it.
Just be careful not to overdo it.
 
Garlic: The natural way to ease muscle pain!
 
If your muscles do feel sore after your exercise workout, try chewing raw garlic.
 
Because garlic contains allicin, which helps relieve muscle pain, says FSP Health
 

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