Have you had a productive week? Everyone enjoying their workouts and feeling happy with their progress so far? So this weekend is Bank holiday weekend! So I thought I’d give you all some homework!
How many of you lovely people honestly stretch after your workouts? Do some of you put it off because you’re rushing to finish and get on with your day or do some of you avoid it because you feel too stiff or tight to try?
The ideal time to stretch is when your muscles are warm. Always after your exercise session and not before. You need to give your muscles a chance to warm up and become more flexible. Injuries can occur when you try to stretch a cold muscle or when you stretch your muscle pre – lifting weights. Hold stretches for approximately 20 seconds.
Here are 10 reasons why you should stretch after your workout!
1) Treat it like a cool down post workout
This is great to prevent those post-exercise aches and pains. Post-exercise stretching will help keep your muscles loose. Don’t make the mistake of training and then just stopping, even when you know your muscles feel tight. Stretching would help loosen them up.
2) Reduce or prevent injury
When you stretch you are improving or increasing your muscle elasticity and gaining a greater range of motion, thus helping prevent injuries to tendons, ligaments, and muscles. The better you can perform exercises, the less risk of injury.
3) Reduced stress
Stretching can reduce stress. If you stretch your muscles well, they will hold less tension. This in turns helps you feel less stressed. Don’t forget if you have a desk job to stand up and stretch every now and then. Try to reach to the ceiling and then touch your toes every time you get up our of your chair.
4) Increase your flexibility
Flexibility is something that anyone can obtain. If you are tight in you can correct this with consistent effort. And, it is something you can measure on a daily basis.
5) Improve range of motion
Stretching will increase your range of motion through decreasing muscle stiffness. Why can’t you touch my toes? Because you can’t bend forward that far. Once you decrease the stiffness in your hips, you will have a better range of motion. We concentrate so much on activities like running, strength training, etc. that we neglect stretching. Improving the range of motion may also slow the degeneration of your joints. As you get older, everything stiffens and loses elasticity. This means you will lose your range of motion and possibly have trouble with everyday activities later in life.
6) Improve or enhance performance
Stretching will not only help your performance in activities like running, sports, etc.; but will help in your everyday life. I know that when I am stiff, my joints act up. The more flexible I am, the better. With so many sports, it is important to be agile. With flexibility comes agility.
7) Reduce or decrease lower back pain
Flexibility in the hamstrings, hip flexors and muscles attached to the pelvis relieves stress on the lumbar spine which in turn reduces the risk of lower back pain. A little stretching can go a long way to prevent this.
8) Improve or increase circulation
Stretching increases blood supply to the muscles and joints which allow for greater nutrient transportation and improves the circulation of blood through the entire body. Yoga is a great form of prolonged stretching. Yoga, combined with aerobic exercise and a healthy diet has been known to reduce cholesterol, reverse hardening of the arteries by as much as 20%!
9) Reduce muscle tension
Stretching helps by decreasing your delayed onset of muscle soreness (DOMS). Stretching reduces soreness by decreasing the build-up of lactic acid in your muscles. Stretching can also help prevent muscles (like your calves) from cramping.
10) Improve your posture
Many of us walk around hunched over, probably without even knowing it. Stretching the muscles of your lower back, shoulders, and chest will help keep your back in better alignment which will help improve your posture.
Don’t these all sound like fabulous reasons to stretch? So really try this week to stretch after your workout guys. Take 5 minutes at the end of your session and enjoy it.
See you soon
“You’ll get more compliments for working out than you will for sleeping in”