It's Workout Wednesday!
What’s better to talk about than another one of my favorite topics: STRETCHING!
Who of you out there actually takes the time to stretch before or after a run or any type of workout? I bet maybe half of you make the time to stretch. I am right there with you. I have noticed that sometimes I am less likely to stretch after a workout, especially if I am in a rush, or there was nowhere to stretch. However, stretching is such an important everyday thing that should be done. I think as we get older and time is limited, stretching gets thrown to the side lines.
I remember as a child in my PE class, we would stretch for a couple of minutes after a quick warm up (usually jumping jacks) and also at the end. When you are in school no one is thinking of the importance or benefits that stretching has. As we get older we learn to realize that stretching has many benefits.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “Stretching can help improve flexibility, and, consequently, range of motion about your joints, (www.mayoclinic.org).” It is no surprise that stretching can help increase the blood flow to your muscles and can help aid in decreasing your risk for injuries. It also improves your posture and can help ease back pain, especially if you have tight hamstrings. In this day in age, where we end up sitting a good majority of the time and slouching over our computers, telephones, or desk. It is easy to have lower back pain and sometimes people are unaware that it has to do with tight hamstrings and how all of the muscles connect in the body.
It’s best to remember that it is important to take the time to stretch, even if it is for a quick 5 minutes. Everyone has 5 minutes in the day that you can dedicate to yourself and stretch. Stretching will not only aid you long term in keeping up with your running - no matter the distance but also other workouts and every day on the go maneuvers. So many times, I’ve heard my newer clients tell me, I pulled a back muscle and all I did was reach down to pick up my child and put him/her into the high chair.
Take away point: while stretching, do not bounce or try to force it. If you are unable to touch your toes remember to modify. Reach to where it is comfortable and over time you will see how your flexibility will improve. Hold the stretch for 10-30 seconds on each side and then repeat for a total of 3-4 times. There are many variations to help with stretching, for example, using a towel, or an exercise band, until there is an increase in flexibility.
What are your favorite stretching exercises? Are they listed below? If not, let me know which one it is
Hip flexor stretch
Upper back stretch