Fitness and food coach Diana of Bodybewell reminds us of the importance of stretching. Check out her tips here:
How many times have you heard a trainer, fitness guru or your coach say, “You must stretch, you need to stretch, remember your stretches.” Sound familiar?
Wether you are a walker, runner or a weight lifter, your muscles may be tightening due to the load placed on it during the activity you are performing. Muscle tightness can limit your range of motion and this may also cause a muscle imbalance. So think about a time you may have gone for a run and felt sore and stiff the next day. This is muscle tightness.
By doing some static stretches post workout you may reduce your muscle soreness.
At Body be well, we find that:
- Stretching is relaxing and can calm the mind. An anxious or busy mind can cause tension in the muscle so by breathing slowly and moving gently into a stretch you are forced to slow down.
- Stretching can increase flexibility.
- Blood flow may increase into soft tissue.
- May aid in recovery from gym workouts.
- Improves posture.
- Makes us feel good!
If you are new to stretching here are our top 3 stretches to start your day.
1. Seated hamstring stretch.
Sit with on the floor with the leg to be stretched out straight and the other bent out of the way. Lean forward at the hips to feel a stretch under the thigh. Hold stretch for 30 seconds. This stretch can also be repeated with the foot turned outwards.
2. Downward Dog.
To make sure you’re doing Downward Dog correctly, make sure your abs are switched on so squeeze them as if someone is about to throw a ball at you! Keep your legs straight, no hyperextending the knees then reaching up and back with your hips and then down toward the ground with your heels. Don’t let your upper body collapse into itself, or your shoulders sink into your neck. You should look like an inverted V. So much activation in this stretch! Shoulders,abdominals,quads,hamstrings and heels.
3. Overhead tricep stretch.
Put one arm overhead. Position forearm as close as possible to upper arm. Grasp elbow overhead with other hand.
Pull elbow back and toward head. Hold stretch. Repeat with opposite arm.
As well as stretching the tricep muscle you are also hitting your back muscles the muscle called latissimus doris which runs across your back and by your side under your armpit and attaches to the ribs. This stretch needs to be done slowly and gently.
How long should you hold a stretch for? I find that doing 2 rounds of each stretch would be a wonderful start. First thing in the morning or before bed.
I would start by holding a stretch for 30 seconds. As you feel comfortable and find your tolerance to the discomfort grows hold for 60 seconds.
Plus if you’d like a friendly reminder why not download our pdf stretch chart.
To learn more about Diana and BodyBeWell:
Sigue aquí el blog en español.