How important is stretching and what are the essential stretches?

How important is stretching and what are the essential stretches?

Stretching is absolutely essential, as I’ve found in my own training.

Initially, I thought stretching was boring and unnecessary, but that changed two years ago when my left shoulder began to act up.

At first, I brushed it off and started working around my troublesome shoulder. But later, my lower back began to hurt too.

Before long, things got so bad that I had to drop certain exercises to prevent aggravating the two trouble spots.

Last year, I decided to consult a reputable sports rehabilitation specialist.

He explained that I felt discomfort because certain muscles around these areas were excessively tight, impinging on other muscles and causing the pain.

To alleviate the problem, I was put on a rigorous stretching routine. I haven’t looked back since.

So stretching is essential, and not just for those leading an active lifestyle. As you age, your muscles tighten and the range of motion in your joints decrease.

Tight muscles are weak ones, and this can put a brake on your training and even hinder your day-to-day activities.

So, make stretching a regular part of your life if you want to remain pain-free.

Here are some stretches for parts of the body where people often experience discomfort.

Hip flexors

Step forward with your left foot while keeping your right knee just above the floor.

Put your hands on top of your left thigh, then slide your back leg behind you until you feel the stretch in the front of your hip.

Hamstrings

Lying down, lift your right knee up and extend your right leg.

Grasp the part of your hamstring near your knee with both hands, then pull your knee close to your chest.

Gluteals and adductors

Place the front of your lower leg crossways on the floor, then stretch your other leg back as far behind you as you can.

Lean forward to increase the stretch in your bum and inner thighs.

E-mail your fitness questions to tnp@sph.com.sg with the subject line ASK BEN

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