When it comes to working out, many of us tend to focus on our cardio, strength, and agility. However, there’s another crucial element that so many people tend to overlook—stretching. Stretching is key for keeping your muscles flexible and also preventing injury. In addition to warming up before you begin any workout, active stretching exercises are a great way to maintain flexibility, improve circulation, and avoid muscle strain or injury due to overuse of a specific area. Creating a regular active stretching routine is easy to keep your body feeling great after a workout or even during the rest of your day. Here are ten active stretches you can add to your daily routine, no matter what type of activities you plan on doing that day!
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What is Active Stretching
Active stretching is a type of stretching that uses movement to improve flexibility. It’s different from a passive stretch, where you hold a stretch in a given position to increase muscle length and improve flexibility. Active stretching is performed while in motion and is used to improve your range of motion and prevent injury. Active stretching is typically done before exercise or any type of physical activity. It is also commonly accepted that active stretching is not as effective in increasing the range of motion as passive stretching. Active stretching is also sometimes referred to as dynamic stretching as it uses movement rather than static holds to improve muscle length.
The Difference Between Active Stretching & Static Stretches
While active stretching is done while you move, static stretching involves holding a given position to increase muscle length and improve flexibility. Active stretching is thought to be more effective when it comes to an increasing range of motion. At the same time, static stretching is believed to be more effective in increasing muscle length. There is some debate surrounding the overall effectiveness of each type of stretching. However, one advantage of active stretching is getting your heart rate up, which is a plus if you’re trying to warm up for a workout or cardio routine.
10 Benefits of Active Stretching
When you’re more flexible, you’ll also find it easier to move around and do daily activities, making you feel more confident.
To get the most out of your stretching exercises, it’s essential to focus on breathing deeply and relaxing as much as possible. Unfortunately, many people tend to rush through their stretches without realizing the benefits they’re missing out on.
And don’t worry if you’re not flexible enough to do specific stretches yet. With practice and persistence, you can achieve any level of flexibility. Achieving optimal flexibility is key to avoiding injury, which is one of the main benefits of active stretching. Not only will this keep your muscles feeling great, but it can also improve your overall posture as well as your mood.
Furthermore, blood flow helps your body get rid of toxins, so active stretching can also be great for your overall health. Additionally, improved blood flow can help with your flexibility, and active stretching can reduce muscle tension, which can help you relax. If you have ever experienced tightness or tension in your muscles, you know how uncomfortable it can be. With active stretching, you can relax your muscles and ease the tension. The increased blood flow brought on by active stretching is a great way to help your muscles stay healthy and avoid cramping.
Stretching works the muscles in your body but also engages your mind by requiring focus and awareness. It is a great way to start your day by setting the intention to be mindful. You can also use it to de-stress, clear your mind, and relax before bed.
For maximum benefits, make sure to focus on your breathing while you stretch. This will help you stay in the moment, clear your mind of stress, and relax your body. One of the top reasons to begin an active stretching routine is that it can keep your mind focused and clear—especially if you perform it before a workout.
Doing active stretches not only feels good but can help prevent pain and injury from happening. Active stretches are the opposite of static stretches and involve movement. Active stretches are great for increasing muscle strength, flexibility, and blood flow. While this isn’t the main reason you’d perform a stretch, it can come as a bonus. Active stretching can help strengthen your muscles by increasing flexibility and improving circulation.
Reduced Risk Of Injury
You’ll be significantly increasing your flexibility and reducing your risk of injury. The most important things to remember when you’re stretching are to be patient and to breathe. Stay in each stretch for at least 30 seconds, and focus on how it feels. If it starts feeling too uncomfortable, you’re doing it wrong.
Once you’ve finished your workout routine, don’t forget to stretch. This will help to reduce DOMS and prevent stiffness. When you’re stretching, you’re not trying to break your muscles, so you’ll have less risk of damaging them than lifting weights.
Enhanced Sports Performance
A lot of people have a problem with injuries. Here’s the thing, though. Are you injured? If not, then why are you stretching? If you’re injured, then your muscles are probably too tight, and your body needs some rest. Don’t be afraid to stretch, and take some time to relax before doing anything else.
It also helps to decrease the risk of developing poor posture and other health issues. There are a few simple stretches that you can do every day to improve your posture and overall well-being. These exercises will also help you if you have back pain or other posture problems.
Who is Active Stretching For?
Active stretching is for anyone who wants to improve their flexibility and avoid injury in their daily lives. It’s especially important for athletes, runners, yogis, and anyone who participates in sports or other physical activities. Whether you’re using it to warm up for a workout or are just trying to keep your muscles feeling great and your mind clear, active stretching is a great way to stay on top of your health game.
10 Active Stretches You Can Do Today
Heel drops are a great way to stretch your Achilles tendon and calf muscles. Start by standing on a step with your toes hanging off the edge. Slowly lower your heels below the level of the step, hold for a few seconds, and then raise back up. Repeat 10-15 times.
This stretch targets your hamstrings, glutes, and lower back. Start by lying on your back with your legs extended straight in front of you. Place a towel around your ankle and hold the ends in each hand. Slowly bring your leg up towards your chest, keeping your knee bent. Hold for a few seconds and then lower back down.
The glute bridge is a great way to stretch your hips, glutes, and lower back. Start by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Slowly lift your hips off the ground, hold for a few seconds, and then lower back down. Repeat 10-15 times.
Knee to Chest
This stretch targets your lower back and hamstrings. Start by lying on your back with your legs extended straight in front of you. Place your hands behind your knees and slowly bring your knees up to your chest. Hold for a few seconds, and then release. Repeat 10-15 times.
Cross Body hamstring stretch
This stretch targets your hamstrings. Start by lying on your back with your legs extended straight in front of you. Place your right hand behind your head and your left hand on your right knee. Slowly bring your right leg up and over to the left side of your body, holding for a few seconds. Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.
This stretch targets your quads. Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart. Place your right hand on a wall or chair for support. Bend your left knee and reach back to grab your ankle with your left hand. Gently pull your heel towards your butt, holding for a few seconds. Release and repeat on the other side.
This stretch targets your calves. Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart and your hands on your hips. Slowly raise up onto your toes, hold for a few seconds, and then lower back down. Repeat 10-15 times.
This stretch targets your abs and obliques. Start by lying on your back with your legs in the air and your head and shoulders off the ground. Place your right hand on your left ankle and your left hand on your right knee. Slowly lower your left leg towards the floor while raising your right leg. Hold for a few seconds, and then switch sides.
This stretch targets your back and chest. Start by lying on your stomach with your legs extended straight behind you. Place your hands on the ground next to your shoulders and slowly press up, letting your back arch. Hold for a few seconds and then lower back down. Repeat 10-15 times.
This stretch targets your back, shoulders, and hips. Start by kneeling on the ground and sit back on your heels. Slowly reach your arms out in front of you and lower your forehead to the ground. Hold for a few seconds, and then release.
When people think of stretching, they often imagine standing on a gym stretching mat, slowly bending their legs and arms. However, active stretching is an effective and efficient way to warm up your muscles and improve flexibility, especially before a workout.
It’s important to remember that while stretching can improve flexibility and circulation, it won’t magically make you flexible if you don’t practice it regularly. If you want to reap the benefits of a regular stretching routine, be sure to choose stretches that target your main muscle groups and tissues, such as your quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, calves, hip flexors, quads, and lower back.