Stretching to Success

By EssentialsMAG fitness contributor LEE EASON

The importance of stretching is key to any form of exercise, or even day-to-day activity. Stretching can also help reduce the aches and pains we may suffer, especially when we start to age! Regular stretching can help increase your flexibility which is crucial for your overall health. Improved flexibility will help you to perform everyday activities with relative ease.

The most common forms of stretching are static and dynamic:

Dynamic Stretching involves active movements which cause your muscles to stretch, but these are not to be held in the end position, they are typically done prior to exercise to get your muscles moving.

Static stretches involve holding a stretch in a comfortable position for a period of time, typically between 10 and 30 seconds. This form of stretching is most beneficial after you exercise.

Think of your muscles as an elastic band; when stretched it to its maximum straight off it would not go back to its natural shape. However, if you warmed it up by carrying out shorter movements it would be more giving when you stretched it to its maximum after the warm up.

Some key points to remember when stretching:

  • Don’t bounce.

  • Don’t stretch beyond comfort.

  • Don’t overdo it.

  • Don’t go into your stretches cold.

The last point is especially essential in the coming months, as we know the British weather can have its moments. Stepping outside a nice warm house into the cold (yes, winter will be on its way!) can lead you straight into an injury.

When I go out for a run, I will walk for a good 500 meters first then stretch off and take a steady pace for the first kilometre. This works for me, but you will find your own routine, the main thing is to stretch to avoid injuries!

Parkrun it is a great way to not only cheer people on, but to set yourself a target. Parkrun is completely free (just sign-up online: and it is a great way to meet like-minded people.

If you’d rather not run you can volunteer.

The Parkrun in Erddig is not only local, it is one of the best I have done - it’s well organized with very attentive volunteers who support you all the way. If you would like any more information please check-out Facebook or twitter:

Twitter: @erddigparkrun

“A river cuts through a rock not because of its power, but its persistence.”

EssentialsMAG fitness contributor is Lee Eason

Victoria Lee