Stretching to relax

Stretching per distendersi

he role that stretching has on joint health

The term stretching (which in English means stretching) has now rightfully entered the sports vocabulary.

Stretching means performing postures with the aim of giving elasticity to the muscles by reducing tension and retraction.

Postures must be maintained for each individual muscle district, for a time that some authors indicate is thirty seconds and others about a minute.

Therefore, stretching the main muscles takes no less than thirty-five to forty minutes.

The practice of stretching is a fundamental part of the training of professional athletes who have understood its importance for years.

Fitness centres frequently offer stretching courses but the customer response is often below expectations.

Perhaps this is due to the fact that many people do not know that the practice of stretching can bring multiple benefits:

It decreases muscle tension and reduces the resistance of the connective tissues surrounding the muscles.

It makes the muscles more elastic and powerful.

It improves the sensitivity of the muscles and thus develops a greater awareness of your body.

Improves coordination allowing more freedom and ease of movement.

Prevents muscle tearing injuries and avoids relapses due to sprains.

It increases both superficial venous circulatory activity and deep, capillary venous artery activity.

It also gives a feeling of psycho-physical relaxation that is useful to remove the stress of everyday life.

Anyone can learn to stretch regardless of age or flexibility.

Stretching is not only useful for sportsmen and women but also for people who have to maintain the same positions for many hours (sedentary work or many hours sitting in the car).

There are studies (Borelli, Weber Fick) that have found that the continuous limitation of the amplitude of movement causes the regression of the muscle fibers of the affected muscle at the end of a certain time; this time can lead to spoiled postures and muscular-articular pains especially in the spine.

Regular stretching is therefore also an investment in your health. If there is still any doubt about the importance of stretching, just observe the animals and in particular the cat when performing meticulous “stretching exercises” before performing its agile and elastic movements.

(from “Giornale di Brescia” 27/09/2003)

Damiano Francesconi