As many of you know I am a Personal Trainer and one of the things I can't stress enough to my clients is how important stretching is. Do you skip it or do you do it faithfully? Hopefully the answer is you do it faithfully, however more often than not, most people skip the stretching before and after their workout.
Stretching has major benefits? Here’s some food for thought before you start your next workout:
Stretching helps to improve your flexibility, which in turn, increase your range of motion.
Sit at a desk all day? Stretching lengthens tight muscles and helps your posture positioning.
Prepares your body before your workout.
Lessened chance of injury.
Improved athletic ability in certain areas.
Cuts down on soreness of the muscles due to the increase of blood flow.
Not only does stretching have benefits to your body, but also for your mind. Take just 10 minutes during your day to stretch no matter where you are – at the office, at home, in the gym. You’ll calm your mind, and give yourself a mental break, giving you time to recharge your batteries.
Warm up with a light jog or brisk walk before you stretch, giving your muscles a chance to get warm. As you start, aim for balance. Not everyone’s body is the same, so flexibility differs, but try to stretch the same distance on both sides of your body. Major muscle groups like your lower back, neck, shoulders and thighs are best to focus on, as well as any muscles or joints you use in your workout or sport. Your stretches should be smooth in nature and not painful. If it hurts, lessen the stretch to avoid injury. Typically, your stretch should last anywhere from 30 seconds to one minute. And don’t forget to breathe!
Do your best to stay with your stretches (aim to stretch regularly two – three times a week). You risk losing the benefits if you’re not consistent. If you think that you won’t keep up with it, try adding a group fitness class like yoga or Pilates into your fitness regimen.