Athletes, dancers, cheerleaders and all types of fitness buffs do stretches importantly as a daily routine because they know the importance of this exercise. Anyone who does not exercise regularly should at least do stretches every day to make it a habit.
If you are one who exercises rarely or not at all, then you are highly likely to age and stiffen faster with associated aches and pains. If you have a job where you have to stand all day or do restricted repetitive actions or sit at a desk all day, then believe me, if the muscle pains have not started as yet they will.
You will subject yourself to low back pain, wrist pain, neck or shoulder pain and many such problems.
It is never too late to start. One can easily learn and start a special workout with gentle stretches. Start with some easy stretching warm ups, stretch the upper body with mild exercise and then work up to more challenging ones that help loosen up the muscles. Slow down and relax by using yoga poses to super stretch the entire body.
Computer work and constant sitting in one place at the desk gives rise to pains and aches in the neck, upper arms, forearms, chest, shoulder and hand/wrist muscles.
Similarly, standing all day long produces the same results even though a thick mat may cushion the pressure off the bones to some extent.
Therefore, every patient, dental assistant or the dentist himself has to perform stretches after a hard day of work. Joint and muscle movements are confined due to working, standing or sitting in one place several hours in the day.
If we look around, we notice that people who have just crossed 40 develop a stoop. This happens when the chest muscles in the upper body become stiff, thus preventing them from being able to stand up straight. Their neck, including shoulder muscles do not function, as they should do to the wrong stances taken in the day.
When you stoop, you start taking shallow breaths, which make you look older than you actually are!
However, you can rectify this problem by using the right approach of gently stretching to improve your physique and reverse the posture again.
You need to be flexible as well as have strength to take part in different sporting activities such as kickboxing, football, gymnastics and cheerleading. We list below some superb stretching exercises that will make you more flexible and increase mobility to help learning the splits.
There are several methods to working on the splits. One is the Chinese split, which is done by placing both legs on either side with the split down the middle. The cheerleader split involves placing one leg in the front and the other behind. There are a few who find that they are more flexible on one side of their body. Make sure you square off the hips when doing the cheerleader split. Exercises performed require that you pull your chest to the front knee and touch the front toe by reaching down with the hands.
Ideally, you should perform the Chinese splits after a workout when the muscles are warmed up and the body is supple. There are different methods to get the Chinese split. Try sitting down with legs stretched out on either side. Try walking your hand forward slowly and reach out with the finger tips to the maximum point. Concentrate on pressing the lower back as this is very important. Another good trick is to press both butt cheeks to the floor as this is very important and lifting any one of them during the stretch means that you are not doing it properly. Do the walking of your hand, one at a time down the respective leg, hold, ensuring that “both cheeks” are firmly on the floor and pay attention to the lower back. Repeat with the other hand on the other leg.
To perform a cheerleader split, lay down on your back. Make sure your right leg is stretched straight out and touching the floor. Pull your knee into your chest by picking up the left leg. Make sure your right leg is firmly on the floor and slowly straighten out the left leg and pull it toward your face. You have to make sure both your legs are straight as you feel the stretch but take care that they do not get locked out. Try grabbing the ankle and pull the leg to near your side of the head. Keeping the leg still bent, try to bring the knee back again into the chest. Now place the leg on the floor and repeat the entire exercise with the left leg on the floor and raising the right leg.
The best time to do the stretches is after a routing of regular exercise and when one is cooling down. This is because the body is flexible and mobility is easier for stretching. You benefit greatly as you build up the tone and find your body supple and flexible to really s-t-r-e-t-c-h!