It’s easy to forget to stretch. It’s often overlooked because the results are not as visible as squatting and lifting weight – or so you thought. Stretching can lead to a much better posture, fewer aches and pains, and greater confidence. Stretching also relaxes tight, tense muscles that often accompany stress and increases blood flow to your muscles. Blood flowing to your muscles brings nourishment and gets rid of waste byproducts in the muscle tissue. Improved circulation can help shorten your recovery time if you’ve had any muscle injuries. Here are three important things to think about when you stretch:
1. Skip the pre-workout stretch. Your muscles should be warm before you begin your stretching. Do a warmup before a workout that simulates the movements you’ll be doing in order to warm up and prepare your body. Stretch after the workout when your muscles are already warm. A basic static stretch should last about 30 seconds. Anything less than 20 seconds won’t make a significant difference in lengthening muscle fibers and tissue.
2. Focus on the muscles that need the most help. Instead of trying to stretch your whole body after every time you exercise, focus on a key area of the body each time. Spend longer on each stretch and include more stretches for each area.
3. Include one long-duration flexibility session each week. Choose a flexibility class, such as yoga, hot yoga, pilates, or do your own flexibility work for 45-60 minutes at least once a week.
Happy stretching! xoxo Charlotte