Don’t Miss Out on the Benefits of Stretching
Most of us know the benefits of exercise. But how often are you stretching? Often times the workout takes center stage but there are plenty of benefits you may be missing out on.
Take 10 minutes and see what stretching can add to your routine. It may improve range of motion and decrease risk of injury.
Before you jump right into stretching, keep in mind there is a safe way to do so. If you stretch incorrectly it can actually hurt more than help you. While you CAN stretch anytime, anywhere; keeping the right form is key. Some tips below will guide you.
Stretching should NOT be how you warm up.
- It can actually hinder your performance to stretch first without warming up cold muscles.
- Try a light walk, or biking at low intensity for a few minutes.
- Do a stretch at the end of your workout when muscles have had a chance to warm up.
Stretch major muscle groups.
- Focus on your calves, thighs, hips and neck.
- Stretch both sides and strive to keep each side symmetrical.
Try a new way to stretch.
- Gentle movement or mindfulness classes such as Pilates can support you in your journey to become more flexible.
- It can support you to attend a class where you are shown how to do the movements correctly to avoid injury.
Stretching shouldn’t be painful.
- You should feel some tension but never pain. If that is the case, pull back and hold the stretch where it feels more comfortable.
- If you have a chronic injury, you may need to try other techniques or seek support from a therapist or doctor.
There are many other resources available if stretching is new to you. Make sure you find support in someone you trust and ease into it if it’s new to you. Take mental notes as you incorporate 10 minutes of stretching in each day – what other benefits do you see?
By Jillian Bryan, LiveNOW Health Coach