Stretching

Wednesday from 10.15 to 11.15 and Friday from 6.30 pm to 7.30 pm, with Giovanna Cuomo.

It is a set of muscle stretching techniques used in the preparatory phase, or in the final one, in many sports. It basically includes all those exercises that aim to stretch and lengthen a muscle or a series of muscles, whether static or dynamic.

The objective is to improve joint mobility, i.e. the ability to move a joint, at its maximum amplitude, without pain.

Two types of stretching are used:

Dynamic stretching
It consists of repetitions of movements in search of maximum joint excursion, without ever straining. The exercises are controlled oscillations that gently lead to the limits of the range of movement. (e.g.: the leaps.). Dynamic stretching improves dynamic flexibility and is very useful as a warm-up phase.

Static stretching
It is useful in the cooling phase to reduce the feeling of fatigue. It consists of exercises inspired by yoga to stretch a muscle by external action (gravity, body weight, elastic, etc.).

The exercises are based on maintaining the position (between 15 and 30 seconds) seeking relaxation with breathing. Under no circumstances should movements be abrupt in order not to achieve the opposite effect, i.e. creating tension in the muscle (with the risk of contraction or muscle tearing). The tension in the muscle must be slow and progressive. It is important to stop when the maximum tension has been reached.

During static stretching, the antagonistic muscles are stressed in reverse. Example: When stretching the back muscles of the thigh, the quadriceps are shortened.

Benefits

Those who decide to dedicate themselves to stretching aim at achieving physical well-being, considering this method capable of reducing pain. Indeed, it brings many benefits to the locomotor system. It involves not only muscles but also tendons, bones and joints, contributing for example to greater joint lubrication. If it is therefore performed correctly, stretching can help reduce cartilage wear and the chances of suffering from arthrosis. But the most immediate and sought-after effect is related to the possibility of achieving a reduction in tension and stress, which actually promotes relaxation. It also proves to be of great importance in rehabilitation to regain range of motion and to compensate for muscle stiffness caused, for example, by poor posture. It can be practiced at all ages even if you do not do other sports but simply to regain a certain harmony of the body.

The muscles are made up of a set of several thousand muscle fibres that are located in a membrane called a fascia. Partly because of age, partly because of the wrong postures that our body assumes and the weights that it carries every day, but also and above all because of stress, the body slowly loses its elasticity. It is precisely this membrane that loses elasticity. Since the same muscle sticks to different joints, if it is shortened it creates a joint constriction and causes premature deterioration of the joint. Not only are the movements limited, but there is also a tendency to change the posture causing various discomforts. In the long term, your body will become rigid and increasingly restricted in its movements, so even if you don’t play sports, you will stretch as a preventive action and you will reach 100 years of age with flexible muscles and joints, because the muscle always has the ability to stretch and regain its original elasticity.

In addition to relaxing, stretching prevents and improves

  • Traumas
  • The elasticity of muscles and tendons
  • Back pain
  • Circulation

Recommendations to execute it correctly:

The practice of stretching requires calm, movements must be slow.
These exercises are very simple but require a great deal of concentration. You need to visualise the area you want to stretch and feel the muscle stretching.
Breathing must be slow and controlled.