Consider this scenario and see whether it applies to you: You’ve just finished your fabulous workout but you’re in a rush to get to work or brunch so you skip your post workout stretch and run off to enjoy the day.
Half the battle is getting to the gym, but don’t waste all your hard work by skipping your cool down and stretch regime.
Stretching – what’s the big deal and why should you bother?
Reduces muscle soreness:
You know sometimes up to two days after a workout you struggle to walk down the stairs or even physically get yourself out of bed? The culprit to blame is Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) which is a mild muscle strain caused by stressing the muscle tissue. Many people complain that they often skip exercise because they are so stiff that they can’t physically exercise. The good news is that stretching can help to reduce this soreness and help you get back to kicking butt and back to your workout routine sooner.
After you work out your muscles tend to contract as you cool down due to the ‘stress’ that you have placed on. Stretching helps to prevent your muscles from shrinking past a ‘normal length’. When you bend over to touch your toes you will notice that the longer you hold this position, the closer you get to your toes. This is because your muscles are relaxing, lengthening and allowing you to stretch a little further. Stretching regularly can also help to improve your range of motion which helps to improve your workout performance!
Increases blood flow and circulation:
Stretching increases your blood flow and circulation which aids your body’s natural detoxification process. Increasing your blood flow also helps to send oxygen to your brain which can boost your mood and your brain function too!
We are often told to warm up our muscles before we exercise to prevent muscle injury but what about after our workouts? Often if you don’t stretch then your muscles will remain tight which can increase the risk of injury.
How many times a day to you find yourself craning your neck while looking at your computer or even your mobile? Our muscles have a memory and unless you stretch out these muscles regularly, they can naturally want to assume this crouched position which can result in back and neck pain and even headaches. Regular stretching is a great way to improve your posture and get your body back into normal alignment which can also prevent injury and strain.
So what stretching should you do?
Remember that to get the most out of your stretch you should concentrate on your technique and ensure you hold you stretch for at least 30 seconds. Put on a chilled out tune and enjoy giving your muscles a proper 360 workout they deserve!
Many trainers and fitness experts recommend that your stretch session should last between 5-10 minutes and it should be a combination of static and dynamic stretches. Static stretches are stretches where you are still and concentrating on lengthening a particular muscle whilst dynamic stretches include an easy moving workout like a slow walk.