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Why Stretching Keeps You Sexy & Scares Away Those Aches

Stretching keeps the muscles flexible, strong and healthy. We need that flexibility to maintain a range of motion in the joints, without it, the muscles shorten and become tight, subsequently, when you call on the muscles for activity, they are weak and unable to extend all the way, putting you at risk for joint pain, strains, and muscle damage.

Little stretches done here and there can scare those annoying aches away, keep you active and make you stronger. Below we have highlighted the reasons why stretching could be the key to movement medicine.

Have you noticed in the morning when you wake that you just can’t help but stretch, and found yourself questioning why we instinctively do this? Well it’s an animal instinct after a prolonged time of inactivity for example sleeping for 8+ hours, your muscles loose tone and fluid tends to pool along your back. Stretching helps to massage fluid gently back into the normal position. It’s also a gentle transition from sleep to wakefulness for the rest of the body as well.

When most people think of fitness they think of cardiovascular and strength exercise, but stretching is another important component of fitness, as it's not only critical to athletic performance, but to overall health, including the following:

  • Decreases muscle stiffness and increases range of motion

  • May reduce your risk of injury

  • Helps relieve post-exercise aches and pains

  • Improves posture

  • Helps reduce or manage stress

  • Improve sense of bodily awareness

  • Reduces muscular tension and enhances muscular relaxation

  • Improves mechanical efficiency and overall functional performance

  • Prepares the body for the stress of exercise

  • Promotes circulation

  • Decreases the risk of low-back pain

It's advised to hold stretches gently for 20 to 45 seconds, repeating each stretch 2-3 times for any muscle groups you are loosening up. Intense pain should not be a part of stretching, so take it easy, look at your muscles as elastic bands, they are delicate and the more you stretch the looser they get.

4 Types of stretching are...

Active Stretching

Active stretching involves holding a pose to utilise a targeted muscle group, and is commonly performed as a warm-up to prepare the muscles for exercise.

Passive Stretching

This type of stretching is best for balance enhancement and flexibility, and commonly utilised in Yoga.

Dynamic Stretching

Dynamic stretching is achieved on movements with momentum, rather than a static stretch. An example of dynamic stretching would be moving your arm in a full rotation to stretch your shoulder repeatedly. Each pass is a stretch to activate the muscles and increase flexibility.

PNF Stretching

PNF (short for proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation) stretching is an assisted stretching method, involving laying on a table, with the help of a certified specialist. PNF stretches are very focused, similar to passive stretching, and the physical therapy specialist will hone in specifically on target muscles by holding you in position.

In order to gain the benefits of stretching, it’s important to stretch properly, this includes breathing correctly. Sometimes we’re inclined to hold our breath when stretching, but this is counterproductive because it results in tightness and resistance. Instead, breathe into a stretch. Breathe slowly and deeply. As you exhale, you may feel yourself naturally sink a little deeper into the stretch.

It's equally important to avoid forcing a stretch. Instead, gently ease your way into a stretch and let your body dictate how far you can go. Flexibility will naturally increase over time—forcing a stretch will only result in injury, not increased flexibility.

Many assume that it’s best to stretch before you run or take part in any type of exercise, even sex! But actually it’s better if you warm up first. Never stretch a cold muscle; it can result in injury. Instead, warm up with some cardiovascular activity prior to stretching. This will help make your muscles more pliable and conducive to stretching.

Even having sex uses a lot of muscles you don't normally use throughout the day, so why not add these simple stretches into your everyday routine to increase your flexibility and spice up your sex life. The more flexible you are, the more comfortable you will be trying a new position, or avoiding cramps during sex.

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