For many people, stretching is just an accessory to other workouts, but stretching can actually be a great workout in itself when done right. Stretching not only promotes flexibility, but it can recharge the body, tone muscles, and improve the overall alignment of the spine and extremities. For these reasons, more and more stretch-based workouts are gaining popularity. In fact, one-on-one stretch sessions are among the biggest workout trends of 2017.

Types of Stretches

When it comes to stretching, there are two different types of stretches to know: Static and dynamic. A static stretch involves holding a position for 30 seconds or longer, while dynamic stretches involve controlled, slow movement to reach the fullest extent of your range of motion. Both types have their benefits, but dynamic stretching will facilitate more of a complete workout with methods like yoga or tai chi. In these practices, each movement made to achieve a certain pose is just as important as the pose itself.

Benefits of Stretching Exercises

Stretching can have many of the same benefits as other forms of exercise—improved sleep, more energy, and improved strength. Some benefits like increased awareness and energy are immediately accessible with some light stretching, so it may be helpful to incorporate a stretching routine into your daily routine at the office. As you begin to stretch more often, you might find that you can achieve more complex and difficult poses.

Stretching Safety Basics

Stretch-based exercises are only beneficial when performed to one’s own personal limits. Over-stretching can be detrimental to muscles and soft tissues, and it may lead to more discomfort down the road. Therefore, you might get into stretching in a guided class or one-on-one sessions with a personal trainer.

If you’re beginning any new workout routine, checking in with a doctor first can help you reduce the chances of injuries and common exercise mistakes. With MeMD, talking to a medical professional is easy and fast, so you don’t have to wait to get started on your next workout.

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