Hamstrings are muscles that are situated on the back portion of our thighs. They are essentially used in all the activities done by our legs like sitting, standing, walking, jogging and in sports which involve jumping and running.
Stretching Loosens The Hamstrings
While exercising it is important to give attention to your hamstrings in order to make them more flexible. If you are a sportsperson, your hamstrings should be both strong and flexible to improve your performance. Many people complain of a feeling of tightness in the hamstrings if they are involved in some leg activity for a long time at a stretch.
For instance, if you walk for a long distance or if you sit in one position for a long time you can feel your hamstrings becoming tight and later you may also experience pain at the back of your thigh. Especially if you set out for a long distance jog or run after a long gap of time, the hamstrings undergo a lot of strain which can cause severe pain after a few hours. Such pain can last for a few days and makes normal movements difficult and uncomfortable. To avoid this you should always warm up that is lightly exercise your hamstrings to prepare them to endure the rapid movements.
With proper exercise, your hamstrings can become both flexible and strong which is essential whether you are a sportsperson or not. Strong hamstrings are required for supporting your back and hips and also to allow easy movement to your knee and hip joints. Healthy and toned hamstrings are also essential for having a good posture while sitting, standing or walking.
Warming Up The Hamstrings Is A Must
While exercising the hamstrings, you should follow some basic rules. First of all, you must never stretch hamstrings suddenly after a long period of inactivity, like sleeping or sitting in one position. It is instead essential to always warm up the hamstrings with light exercises like bending the leg backwards at the knee or slowly sitting and standing a few times. This helps to loosen the muscles for further exercise.
Stretching is very effective to increase the flexibility of the hamstrings. This can be done by allowing the muscles at the back of your thigh to elongate or reach their maximum length. You must stretch the hamstring as much as your body comfortably allows and remain in that position for a few seconds. For instance, you can sit with your legs outstretched and try to touch the toe of one leg with the opposite hand. Remain in that position for about 10 seconds and then relax. Next do the same exercise with the other leg. All leg exercises which help you to stretch the back of your thighs are useful for your hamstrings but you must do them without putting in too much effort.
Toned Hamstrings Help To Have A Good Posture
As with all muscles you must never overstretch your hamstrings. Most of us are aware of the term “pulled hamstrings.” This occurs when the hamstring muscle is suddenly put under more tension than it can endure. It can happen during playing a sport like football when the player makes a sudden movement with his leg. Such pain can be very severe and can immobilize you temporarily. Also whenever you play some active sports which involves running, you must never stop suddenly. Even after your game is over you should do light warm up stretches on the hamstrings and gradually normalize their movement.
Even in normal daily exercising, if you do not stretch your hamstrings gradually you can experience a painful pull at the muscles. If this happens you should stop immediately and relax for awhile before starting any other exercise.
If you have never exercised your hamstrings before you should start paying attention to them now. Just remember to gradually increase their flexibility by starting with light exercises and slowly increasing the intensity. Flexible and toned hamstrings keep your legs and the back in good shape and also give you the right posture.