The golden rule

STRETCHING before you exercise is the golden rule that you must not avoid.

Not stretching before you play sport or exercise can have dire consequences.

It has resulted in many hamstring injuries on the football field in recent years just from not stretching enough pre-match.

It is taught so much at junior level that stretching must be done. It is not just the teacher telling the students. It is a massive unwritten law that must be abided by for athletes of any kind.

Even amateurs like us.

It should consist of around 5- 7 minutes of stretching before your full exercise or game.

The purpose of warm-ups includes: keeping muscles supple, increasing range of motion of joints, enhancing flexibility, improving coordination, increasing body temperature and heart rate, increasing blood flow to muscles and preventing injuries.

The Womens Heart Foundation preaches that the right way to stretch is slow and relaxed. Do not bounce it says. This can actually cause you to pull the muscle you are trying to stretch.

You should stretch to the point of mild tendion. If you overstretch you will also cause damage. Back off if the stretch feels painful.

Hold the stretch for a minimum of 15 seconds each, without bouncing. Breathe slowly and naturally. Do not hold your breathe while stretching. Relax the stretch. Stretch one or two more times with each stretch. Try to stretch a little further with each stretch. Again, only to the point of mild tension.

If you have an injury or wish to avoid or a certain injury again, you should see your local chiropractor if it is back related, osteopath, massage therapist, physical therapist, sports coach or personal trainer.

Some of the basic stretches including holding on foot up with one hand and stretching it back. Another is to grab your elbow with your opposite hand and stretch that. There are lots to do and it is definitely important.

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