Did you know, that stretching is beneficial for the body in so many ways?
Stretching and flexibility is probably one of the things most dancers will be forever trying to improve, if not, maintain.
Stretching improves flexibility, therefore, the more you stretch, the more you move your muscles, and the more flexible you become. In time, stretching will become easier for your body, so don’t rush.
Poor posture is a big no-no in the dance world, but stretching can always help! It helps improve because stretching strengthens the muscles and encourages proper alignment, which means the body posture will be less slouched and more vertical.
Here are some tips:
Many individuals carry stress in their muscles. When feeling overwhelmed, muscles tighten acting as a defensive strategy. The more you stretch, the less tense muscles will be. Stretching is a very effective form of stress management.
Going too fast or ‘bouncing’ can set off reflexes in the muscles which makes them tighten up as the body tries to protect itself. This is not in any way going to help you stretch and can actually lead to injury.
FOCUS ON THE MUSCLES THAT ARE TIGHT
Tight muscles are a result of soreness and stress. When muscles become tight, it is important to pay attention to these muscles first so that blood flow increases and tension is reduced. Once these previously tense muscles are stretched, movement becomes more fluid-like and soreness is reduced.
Do not hold your breath; breathing should be slow and easy. Breathing is essential in stretching. The more you breathe, the more you help loosen up the tightness in your body. Take deep breaths as you stretch.
FREQUENCY IS KEY
Stretching does not need to be time-consuming. If you take 10 minutes out of your day to stretch and try to do so at least 2-3 days a week you will achieve the most benefits. If you stretch on an irregular schedule, your body will not be able to maintain a consistent range of motion. Because stretching increases your range of motion, it is important to get in the habit of stretching often in order to increase flexibility.
Stay relaxed while you are stretching. It is easy to tense up when working hard, but you will just be fighting yourself.
Flexibility is certainly important, but we need to achieve it in the safest and the right way possible.