Stretching is an excellent low-impact exercise. It keeps the body young by improving flexibility. There are multiple forms of stretching equipment available today. These range from simple ropes and bands to more complex stretching machines that force the body to extend.
There are many benefits to daily stretching. Some examples are relieving stress, improving circulation, increasing flexibility, and improving the range of motion for joints. In general stretching does the body good. The best part about stretching is that it can be done virtually anywhere without sophisticated stretching equipment.
A towel or strap is a good low-cost piece of stretching equipment. This universal tool can be used for assistance when a partner is not available. To perform stretching exercises with a strap, simply position the hands or feet through the desired loop of the strap and stretch the hamstrings, lower back, calves, or quadriceps. A towel can also be used behind the back to stretch the biceps, shoulders, and triceps.
A stretching program is like any exercise program and should be based on a periodic schedule. Morning stretching is a good way to start the day. This gives the body energy and provides the muscles with elasticity that can last throughout the day.
Stretching can be a performed daily but most people prefer to exercise three days per week. When selecting a program, make sure it can be completed on a regular basis. Consistency is important in the early phase of stretches. This gives the body time to adapt to the new program.
It is critical to warm up prior to beginning any stretching exercise. This limits the risk of injury from pulling muscles. Some good warm up exercise include jumping rope, jogging in place, and basic joint rotations. It is also a good habit to cool down after a stretching program with some easy stretching poses.
The leg stretcher is one of the most commonly used pieces of stretching equipment. It consists of a hand pulley and two bars that force the legs into a split. As the practitioner pulls the hand pulley his legs extend into a full split position. Martial artists also use this form of equipment to help increase the height on their kicks.
Stretching the hamstrings is important for runners. These are the muscles that cross between the joints of the hip and the knee. Hamstring stretches can be completed by standing or lying down while reaching to the toes. Stretching equipment is available to assist with the exercise but bands and ropes are typically sufficient.