Are you tired of sitting in uncomfortable positions and stretching for what feels like an eternity? It's no secret that stretching is crucial for increasing flexibility, but let's be real, it can be mind-numbingly boring. So, the burning question is, how long do we really have to stretch to see results? Before we answer that, let's dive into what actually happens to our muscles and tendons when we stretch.
Contrary to popular belief, stretching isn't just about making our muscles more pliable. There's a whole host of things going on inside our bodies!
1. When we stretch, our body responds by changing its collagen content, making our muscle cells more elastic and springy.
2. The number of muscle cells increases and our muscles even lengthen over time.
3. Every time you stretch, pain signals get sent to your brain. However, with repeated stretching, your brain perceives this signal less and less.
So not only are our muscles becoming more flexible, but our brains are becoming more resilient too!
Now, back to the burning question: how long do we need to stretch? Well, according to a scientific study from 2012, just 5 minutes of stretching per week, per muscle group, is the minimum amount of time needed to start seeing the benefits of stretching. However, after 10 minutes per week, per muscle group, the benefits start to diminish. The sweet spot seems to be stretching 6 days a week, with consistent, brief stretches being the key to making progress. So, instead of gruelling through long, uncomfortable stretches, aim for at least 5 minutes of stretching per week, per muscle group, and try to do it consistently throughout the week. For starters, a good guide line is doing 2 x 30 second hold for a muscle group, 5-7 times a week. Even stretching for a minute everyday, you will see results in a few weeks as long as you are doing it frequently!
Of course, these guidelines are just the basics for those looking to improve flexibility. Different stretches serve different purposes, so don't hesitate to reach out to us at Return to Form for personalised advice.
Stretching doesn't have to be a pain in the neck - with some consistency and variety, it can be a beneficial and even enjoyable part of your wellness routine!
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