Stretch your rubber band

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Last night was my first night back in karate class in a couple of months. The class was a good one for me to get back in the groove of things. We worked on charts, the very basic elements of our art.

One part of chart two is leg stretches. When we got to this point, someone asked "Why do we stretch?" and "Why is it better to stretch after you have warmed-up?".

Have you ever picked up a rubber band and watched it snap as you stretched it around something? The same kind of thing can happen to our muscles. If we take them cold and pull them to their limit, they will break. Muscles with a greater range of motion are less likely to experience tears when used actively.

Take two identical rubber bands. Let one of them sit. Subject the second one to daily "exercise" in the form of stretching it every day. You want to stretch it so that it gets a good stretch, but not to the point of breaking. Try this for a couple of months. At the end of that period, compare the two rubber bands. Are they the same length? What happens if you put both of them on your fingers and stretch them at the same time? Which one breaks first? My guess is that the act of stretching the second rubber band has resulted in it being longer and having a greater range of motion.

This results of stretching the second rubber band is the same thing that you want to accomplish by stretching your muscles.

Stretching stimulates blood flow to the muscles helping muscles heal after a hard workout.

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