Types of Stretching That Might Interest You

We all want to stay and fit and healthy and these days people are paying more attention to their diet, exercise, and other health-related factors. Building muscle and doing strength gaining exercises have always been popular, but flexibility and suppleness are too often overlooked when people are creating their fitness programs. Stretching is very important, both to prepare the body for other types of exercise, but also in its own right. 

Stretching improves joint and muscle health, improves strength, encourages blood flow and cardiovascular capability, and alleviates chronic aches and pains. There are various stretching techniques that have been shown to be effective and they are worth experimenting with to see which ones you enjoy.

Here are some types of stretching that might interest you.

1. Hyperbolic Stretching

Hyperbolic stretching is a comprehensive stretching style that incorporates all three of the major isolated stretching techniques; active stretching, passive stretching, and dynamic stretching. Hyperbolic stretching has been shown to be very useful for martial artists, dancers, athletes, and gymnasts. It focuses on pelvic, hamstring, and groin flexibility which enables people to do the splits and increases core strength. Not only are these benefits great for general health, but they are also so important for sport and will stop people from getting injured. Every athlete knows the importance of a full warmup and stretching routine and hyperbolic stretching is quickly becoming the choice of many athletes. 

2. Active Stretching

The first technique which hyperbolic stretching incorporates is active stretching techniques. These are where someone holds a stretch which just focuses on the target muscles. This increases the flexibility and strength of the individual muscle or muscle group by pitting muscles against each other. As one muscle is contracting, its corresponding muscle is lengthening, so both are working hard. Active stretching is very effective if there is a particular area of your body that needs working on as you can dedicate some time to it every day.

3. Passive Stretching

A passive stretch is great for improving your balance and flexibility by holding a pose using the force of gravity or the force of your hand. These forces help to stretch your target muscle beyond its current range of motion. Hamstring stretches are often passive stretches as you bend over and hold onto your toes or shins with your hands to really stretch out the big muscles in the back of your legs. Passive stretches are very effective when you incorporate different ones into a daily routine. Start at the top by stretching your neck and work all the way down to your toes. 

4. Dynamic Stretching

Unlike active and passive stretches which are done in a static pose, dynamic stretches use movement and momentum to stretch out muscles and loosen joints. With each repeat of the same motion, the targeted muscle or joint strengthens and loosens out bit by bit. Doing arm windmills to stretch out shoulder muscles or kicking your legs up to loosen up the hips are both common examples of dynamic stretches. 

5. Yoga

Yoga is perhaps the most popular form of stretching performed by people all over the world. This ancient practice incorporates many different types of stretches and poses performed in a routine or flow. The benefits of yoga are well documented as it helps to strengthen muscles, loosen joints, and just generally improve physical, mental, and emotional health. There are so many different varieties of yoga, from Vinyasa and Hatha yoga which follow the more traditional customs to SUP Yoga performed on a standup paddleboard or hot yoga in a sauna. 

6. Pilates

Many people wrongly think that yoga and pilates are the same things but there are some key differences. Pilates incorporates far fewer movements and stretches than yoga in order to achieve its key results. Yoga is widely considered to be a holistic practice that helps to improve everything from hip flexibility to sleep and pilates is similar in that it can improve many aspects of your health and mental state. Pilates helps to increase flexibility, improve posture and increase energy. Pilates can be very intense when you first start but the gains in strength and ability come so quickly with consistent practice.

Regular and effective stretching is so often neglected but it is such an important part of living a healthy life. Stretching can help to keep your body healthy and strong and your mind calm. There are various kinds of stretching which all have their own unique benefits. Try experimenting with some of the techniques in this article and you will soon see the difference they can make.