Our 1st official Topic.
Stretching is an action that Should be done by everyone, unfortunately, most never do. Whether it’s from lack of education about its benefits, lack of proper training, lack of ambition, or maybe they heard from someone (non-educated or experienced) about the “dangers” of stretching.
However they came to the decision not to stretch is of no concern. Instead we will focus our attention on those who already know there is a benefit, those who are looking for relief from tight or cramped muscles, and those who may not know the benefits but want to try and improve their personal sense of well being.
According to “Wikipedia”:
Stretching is a form of physical exercise in which a specific muscle or tendon (or muscle group) is deliberately flexed or stretched in order to improve the muscle’s felt elasticity and achieve comfortable muscle tone. The result is a feeling of increased muscle control, flexibility, and range of motion. Stretching is also used therapeutically to alleviate cramps.
In its most basic form, stretching is a natural and instinctive activity; it is performed by humans and many other animals. It can be accompanied by yawning. Stretching often occurs instinctively after waking from sleep, after long periods of inactivity, or after exiting confined spaces and areas.
Increasing flexibility through stretching is one of the basic tenets of physical fitness. It is common for athletes to stretch before (for warming up) and after exercise in an attempt to reduce risk of injury and increase performance, though these practices are not always based on scientific evidence of effectiveness.
Stretching can be dangerous when performed incorrectly. There are many techniques for stretching in general, but depending on which muscle group is being stretched, some techniques may be ineffective or detrimental, even to the point of causing hypermobility, instability, or permanent damage to the tendons, ligaments, and muscle fiber. The physiological nature of stretching and theories about the effect of various techniques are therefore subject to heavy inquiry.
Although static stretching is part of some warm-up routines, a study in 2013 indicated that it weakens muscles. For this reason, dynamic stretching is recommended before exercise in place of static stretching, while the latter helps to reduce muscle soreness afterwards.
TYPES OF STRETCHING
There are five different types of stretching: ballistic, dynamic, SMF stretching, PNF stretching, and static stretching. Ballistic stretching is a rapid bouncing stretch in which a body part is moving with momentum that stretches the muscles to a maximum. Muscles respond to this type of stretching by contracting to protect itself from over extending. Dynamic stretching is a walking or movement stretch. By performing slow controlled movements through full range of motion, a person reduces risk of injury. Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) is a type of stretch for a particular muscle and its specific job, so resistance should be applied, then the muscle should be relaxed. Static stretching is a type of stretch whereby a person stretches the muscle until a gentle tension is felt and then holds the stretch for thirty seconds or until a muscle release is felt, without any movement or bouncing.
So, the idea of spending time “stretching” seems to have finally begun to catch on in the West. China has known for quite some time about the necessity for this bodily action. Shaolin has always had a routine for its monks to perform and include in their daily routine, beyond the benefits to the individual martial techniques. They knew there were physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual benefits to this seemingly passive routine.
Each movement had it own specific function and benefit, along with an exact way to execute it for maximum effect – to every area.
Next we will be discussing some of the stretches pertinent to Wah Lum and it’s unique style of movement.