Have you ever wondered how or when to add stretching into your workout routine?


Most people know it’s important to have a regular exercise routine, but did you know that it is equally as important to have a regular stretch routine.  When I asked my clients if they stretch after their work out, they usually say no. Some say they stretch before their work out. Which is  best?


 It is important to remember that your muscles should be warm before you begin any deep or “static” stretching, where you hold a stretch for 15 to 30 seconds. It is okay to do some light ballistic (slight bouncing) or dynamic stretches before a work out, but warming up for an intense run or hard workout with long deep stretches is not the best idea. Save those kind of stretches for after your workout. 

 

Check out Heidi doing walking stretches

Check out Heidi doing walking stretches



If you’re looking for some pre-workout stretching, try these walking knee pulls. Begin by taking a step forward reaching down grabbing one knee and straighten your spine pulling your knee gently toward your chest hold for two seconds and then lower your leg down and repeat on the other side. Do the stretches walking across the room before your workout. These stretches can not only help with flexibility and muscle range of motion, but can also activate the muscles that help you balance. 



As for after the workout, regular stretching can help keep you more flexible and aid in better posture. Hold a stretch for 15 to 30 seconds to the point where you feel, perhaps a little uncomfortable, but not pain. Stretching after a workout can help relieve some of the tension you have created from contracting the muscles over and over again. A cooldown which includes stretching can also help to calm your mind as well as your body. So the answer is “Yes” stretching is a great idea when done correctly 🙂

 

 

Here are some more reasons why you should stretch:

1. Stretching helps prepare  the body for the movement ahead by allowing the body to warm-up as it encourages the flow of blood to all the muscles.

2.Proper warmup stretches (see above) can help reduce injuries. A flexible body means that your long muscles are not as susceptible to tearing so you have plenty or range of motion.

3.Stretching can have a calming effect, and we could all relax a little more. I’ve never left a Yoga class feeling stressed out, so give it a try.