Stretching For Your Health
It’s the last thing we want to do after a big workout. Sit on the floor and stretch. We’ve just exhausted ourselves performing weight or interval training and all we want to do is relax! But every trainer you speak to will insist you stretch, and believe us, it makes all the difference.
Stretching prepares your body for and assists in recovery after exercise. It is the controlled lengthening and shortening of muscles.
In preparation for activity, stretching warms up the muscles by increasing blood circulation to them. This lowers your chance of injuring the muscle during your exercise, as it is more flexible and prepared for exertion. Before you stretch in preparation, perform around 5 minutes of low-intensity aerobic activity (such as walking) so that you don’t strain cold muscles as you stretch.
After exercise, concentrate on your main muscle groups that you have worked. Hold each stretch for approximately 30 seconds. Do not stretch to the point of pain, as you may very well be damaging the muscle and tearing fibres. Stretch to the point that you can feel a gentle stretching strain in your muscle. Do not bounce these stretches, hold them steady. Bouncing often leads to injury.
Stretching aids in the recovery of your body after physical activity, contributing to optimal results and lessening the chance of soreness the next day. You won’t want to workout again tomorrow if you’re sore will you? It also helps to improve posture, very important if you will be spending the rest of your day working at a desk.
So don’t let your progress be wasted. Put in that extra five minutes at the end of your workout to seal the deal!