You can read and hear about the benefits of exercise and workout everywhere, but it’s unusual to hear about the importance of stretching before and after the aforesaid exercise.
The Benefits of Stretching
After the physical exercises our muscles are tightened and hardened and this cause discomfort, tiredness, and after some time even pain and cramps.
To add injury to the insult the affected muscles can negatively affect other body parts. Not once a seemingly unrelated pain in a joint or a bone could be caused by a tight muscle connected to it.
Recently I have developed pain in the area of my feet. I thought that more exercise would do good, but the outcome was the opposite – after the additional exercise my feet were hurting even more.
I was lost not being able to figure out the cause of the pain. Luckily someone recommended that I start doing stretching after each exercise session, and surprisingly after several days of stretching the pain first diminished and then disappeared.
From that day on I have been always stretching after every physical exercise and I haven’t experienced the pain any longer.
Therefore if you have pain in your joints and/or bones make sure the adjoining muscles are well stretched. You can find hundreds of different stretching approaches on the Internet.
The Calf Muscles Stretching Technique
In this article I will show the one that did the trick for me. In my case the calf muscles on both legs were the cause, therefore I did the following stretching:
- Prop your foot on top of an elevated surface like a chair.
- Lean over and try to reach for your toes.
- Slightly bend the other leg in your knee.
- Play with the fingers to toes distance and try to feel the stretch – it should feel good with a slight pain for some (only a little discomfort)
- Optionally you can pull on the toes with your hand for an extra strong stretch.
- Continue for about 30 seconds or longer if it feels comfortable – listen to your body and it’ll tell you how long is enough.
When completed, switch the legs and repeat the same stretching exercise for the other leg.
Now the muscles of both calves should feel more relaxed, more supply and elongated. And if you did previously have pain in the surrounding area you should observe the pain gradually disappearing after a few such sessions.
To conclude remember to stretch after each exercise session.
Some suggest that stretching before the exercise is just as important as after the exercise as it allows the body the time to warm up gently and will prevent a potential injury. So if you have time – do it twice – before and after your workout.
p.s. Pulling on the big toe is an excellent relief technique for calf muscle cramps if you ever get one.