Flexibility is a person’s ability to move body joints through a full range of motion. There are many factors that affect flexibility, such as bone structure, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. It is an important component of personal fitness and should be a part of daily exercise (through stretching). There are many types of stretches, most of which have positive effects on your muscles. These benefits are essential for a well-balanced quality of life.
When you stretch, one set of your muscles contracts, while another set relaxes. The more you stretch, the faster reaction time and speed you develop. This is because the muscles react quicker and easier within the myelin sheath. Also, when you stretch, your muscles loosen up and soreness is reduced. This maintains the body’s flexibility.
There are four major stretching techniques: static, ballistic, dynamic, and contract and relax. In static stretching, the muscle is stretched till its point of tension (farthest point) for ten to thirty seconds, increasing the amount of time the stretch is held as flexibility increases. Not all stretching is beneficial; an example is ballistic stretching. Just the word ‘ballistic’ should give you an idea about the exercise. Ballistic stretching is where the muscle is bobbed or bounced against. This exercise is dangerous because it can cause pain, muscle soreness, and can damage soft tissue. Avoid using this technique. Two other ‘safe’ stretching techniques are dynamic and contract and relax stretching. If you are warming up for practice of a certain sport or a competition, you should use the dynamic stretching technique. In this technique, sport-specific types of activities are mimicked. This increases range of motion of a joint. Lastly, there is contract and relax stretching. In this technique, the muscle that is to be stretched is contracted first. The person performs an isometric contraction, which means the muscle never changes length. While the person is...
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