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Basketball Benefits of Stretching

Nov 14, 2007
The body is flexible. It is supposed to be flexible. You have to be able to bend and reach something you dropped on the floor, or reach that book you need to read at the top shelf. But if your in sports like basketball, you need to be able to do more then stretch. Your muscles need to be loose and flexible all the time. If your muscles are tight, it will be a lot easier to strain and even rip them in an aggressive game of basketball. And we all know it takes a lot longer to heal a ripped or strained muscle than a break.

So, if you are playing or coaching basketball, or any sport for that matter, you need a stretching program.

What Is Stretching?

Stretching is simply the act of extending to full length the body and its muscles. This activity involves straightening or stretching the body structure or the limbs.

How Does One Do the Stretching?

Stretching is fairly easy. As mentioned in the introduction, it is involved in the normal activities. It can be done by any people, regardless of age.

However the extent of stretching and flexing differs. Like the muscles tighten as a person ages, when you are playing a sport like basketball the muscles shorten their span making them tight. The range of joint movements can be minimized when the elasticity in the muscles begins to run out. Bending or flexing becomes more limited. The muscles take longer to stretch out and soon you are on your way to sitting on the bench due to an injury for the game or even the season. This is why stretching regularly, as part of a routine is very important.

Simple stretches can be done everyday. It can be incorporated in the lifestyle and the daily activities. It does not require much of your time.

Stretching exercises can also be done while training. Actually, stretching is an essential part of any training or sport. It must be done first before anything else. Stretching the body and the limbs is a good preparation for a more rigorous activity.

Most athletes would do the sit and reach, wherein they position on the floor, extend their legs and reach the tip of their foot with the tip of their hand. Actually, most trainers actually require their athletes to really do the stretching before playing.

There is actually an ideal length of time in stretching. It is best to do it in 10 minutes. This will give the body enough opportunity to move and flex the muscles, thus preparing it for more complicated and strenuous movements.

Experts however would frown upon going way beyond 10 minutes. Stretching the exercise to 30 minutes or more will already wear out the body before you even get started playing. This would not be favorable if one is preparing for a game.

What Are the Benefits of Stretching?

1. Increase the Range of Movement
As one constantly does the stretching exercises, the length of the muscles and the tendons are also increased. This will help in increasing the range of your movement. Thus, the limbs and joints will be able to move, way before an injury can take place.

2. Increased Ability to Perform Skills
When you have a wide range of movement, the more you will be able to do more things. For example, you can jump high without feeling any pain when you land back on the floor. Plyometrics is based on this fact. Learning to stretch in this aspect early on will allow you to have a more active lifestyle longer.

3. Injury Prevention
You can prevent injury to joints, tendons and muscles with stretching. When the muscles and tendons are well-flexed, they are considered in good working order. This will help in a faster recovery and decreased soreness. The muscles of the body will be able to take more exhausting and rigorous movements with less probability of being injured.

4. Reduce Muscle Tension
If the muscles are given their regular exercises and stretching, it is less likely that they will contract. This will definitely relieve you of any muscle pain or problems.

5. Enhance Energy
Being able to move more will also give you more energy. Stretching will also help enhance your awareness, like knowing that you have a body that is capable of doing many things. As such, you are going to be more driven to move rather than sulk in the corner.

6. Reduces Cholesterol
Research also shows that doing prolonged stretching exercises, like yoga, will help reduce the cholesterol in the body. This of course must be done with a healthy diet at hand. This could prevent and even reverse the hardening of the arteries, allowing you to avoid coronary diseases.

If you incorporate stretching in your everyday practice before doing basketball, the benefits, as the commercial says, will be priceless. It does not require much. After all, your fitness is everything so do what it takes to keep the body healthy.
About the Author
Kathy Giegel has successfully coached basketball for over 25 years and loves every minute of it! She creates programs for all ages to anyone who wants to learn about basketball. Check out her newest creations at
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