What are the benefits of Stretching your hamstring muscles?
From the www.livestrong.com website by Erica Broth
Your hamstrings, a group of three muscles in the back of your thigh, run from your pelvis to your knee. Hamstrings may suffer injuries such as muscle strains or tears. Incorporate hamstring stretching into your regular workout routine to protect your health and tone your thighs.
Reduced Back Pain
Back pain can be a symptom of ailments including muscle tightness and strains, fatigue and muscle weakness. Spine-Health, an online spine medical portal, suggests that performing hamstring stretches can reduce your back pain by lengthening the thigh muscles. Longer muscles relieve pressure on the lower back and ease your aching. Consult your health-care provider if you suffer from chronic back pain to determine if hamstring stretching is appropriate for your recovery.
Sciatica, the pain you feel running from your buttocks down the back of your leg, occurs when your sciatic nerve is compressed. Compression of the sciatic nerve can be a temporary problem caused by a one-time injury or a chronic medical condition stemming from a herniated lumbar disk. A herniated disk bulges out from the spinal column and puts pressure on the sciatic nerve. According to Spine-Health, hamstring stretches can lengthen and loosen the muscles, giving your body more support and less nerve compression. Hamstring exercises might alleviate the pain of a current case of sciatica and may even prevent future discomfort.
Reduced Risk of Injury
Avid runners and other athletes are at risk for developing muscle strains and overuse injuries if they don’t warm up and stretch correctly before a workout. The American Academy of Family Physicians reports that hamstring muscle stretching may prevent overuse injuries, particularly those that affect the knee. The AAFP recommends stretching hamstrings before and after running to warm up and cool off and to reduce your risk of injury.