Making efforts to maintain your flexibility will improve your mobility and decrease muscle-tightness pain issues. Flexibility refers to the degree of range of motion you have with your joints. When muscles are too tight, your range of motion is limited and movement is compromised. Static stretching, which involves moving into a position where you feel a mild stretch and then holding that position for a period of time, is effective at significantly improving your flexibility.
According to MayoClinic.com, stretching regularly may result in a decreased risk of injury, as well as improve your athletic performance, due to the fact that you’re able to move at a greater range of motion. Adding a stretching routine to your regimen can also prevent future issues that can come about from muscle tightness. With long hours sitting, your hamstrings and hip flexors are held in a shortened position and can become too tight. When this happens, they can pull on the pelvis bone and affect your posture, which can lead to lower back problems. Stretching regularly will prevent the muscles surrounding your hips from getting too tight.
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that you do your stretching routine at least two to three days per week. Stretch each muscle a total of four times. However, if your muscles are particularly tight and you’re looking for a more aggressive approach, it’s perfectly safe to perform a stretching routine multiple times throughout the day.
Before you start your stretching routine, perform a five to 10-minute warm-up session to increase blood flow and body temperature. A warm muscle can be stretched further and therefore, your sessions will be more effective. When you perform any stretch, slowly get into the position and stop once you feel mild discomfort. Hold that position for 10 to 30 seconds and then relax for a moment before going into the next repetition. Do not bounce or jerk to try and stretch further as it is not effective at improving flexibility and can lead to muscle strain.
Your stretching routine should cover all of the major muscle groups, including the legs, hips, back, neck, shoulders and calves. Pay particular attention to common problem areas like the hamstrings. Sitting hamstring stretch, which forces you to sit with your legs extended and reach for your toes, targets your hamstrings. Standing quad stretch, which is done by pulling one foot back towards your glute, stretches the quadriceps. Stretch your calves by getting into a staggered stance with one foot in front of the other while facing a wall. Place your hands on the wall in front of you and keep your back leg straight as you bend your front knee. Both sets of heels should remain on the floor and you push your hips forward. Target your hip flexors by kneeling in a staggered position and pushing your hips forward. Get your glutes and lower back by lying on your back and pulling one knee to your chest. For your shoulders, pull one arm across your body and pull it in towards your chest with the opposite hand. Stretch your neck by placing your hand on your head and gently pulling it forward and to both sides.