Why Should I Stretch?

In today’s world we are filled with addictive TV shows, social networking, kids/family (if you have any) and of course our jobs. We barely have time for ourselves, so how do you expect yourself or others to find the time to stretch?

Well it is very simple…

If you are watching “Big Brother”, “America’s got talent” or any of your other favorites shows, what do you think you are doing while you are watching?…..Thats right, you are probably sitting down. And guess what? That’s perfect! Usually these TV shows last 30-60 minutes, so you have more than enough time during a commercial to simply “stretch“ to relieve some, or all of your tightness that you may be experiencing.

If you feel like your muscles are tight, then they probably are. Your muscles need blood circulating through them constantly. If your muscles are tight, then your blood flow slows down, your blood pressure could increase and clots can occur. Not good! Stretching only takes a few minutes, and has so many benefits to your overall health. Take a look at these benefits, it just might make you want to start stretching.

  • Make you feel better
  • Range of motion in all your joints will increase
  • Flexibility will increase
  • Posture will improve
  • Circulation of your blood to all areas of your body will increase
  • Muscle tension will be reduced
  • Energy levels will start to rise
  • Joint pain, and muscle pain will start to alleviate
  • Prevent injuries

Do you experience back pain?

Well, being a hockey player I suffered from back pain for at least 10 years and I am only 24! Tense and tight muscles had a major role in why my back was so sore and tight all time, which in turn made me develop a terrible posture which consisted of a rounded back and shoulders. Not only that, but my abdominal muscle, hamstrings and glutes were tight. As well as limited range of motion in my pelvic area, which also put stress on my spine, causing low back pain. I figured i’d be stuck with a sore back my whole life. I tried stretching once or twice, and I told myself it was a waste of time. Man was I ever wrong about that! I have finally started stretching on a regular basis and it is safe to say my back pain is gone! I might experience a little tightness in the morning, but I just stretch it out. Being pain free is worth the few minutes a day that I can spare.

Everyone and anyone can stretch, that’s the beauty of it. You can do this during your day in your free time, or after a work out, which should be a priority. Try and avoid stretching before your workout, as you would be doing more harm than good. How is that? Very simple…

  • Your muscles can weaken while stretching (which is not good before you lift weights)
  • Experts say that traditional stretches, like reaching for your toes or stretching your legs, etc, can cause the muscle to actually tighten rather than relax and loosen, making it counter productive.
  • A body that isn’t warm doesn’t have an adequate amount of blood flow being delivered to the areas that we need it the most for our workout. Warming up will increase blood flow to the muscles, increase your body’s temperature and help release the necessary hormones.
  • When you stretch before you workout without warming up your body, you increase your chance of pulling a muscle.

My suggestion is to do a light 3-5 minute brisk walk or jog to warm up your body and muscles, if you want to stretch prior to your workout, then do it after you warm up. Then, make sure you stretch after your workout is complete. Stretching at the end of your workout will encourage muscle growth, and by holding the stretch for 30 seconds, it will force your muscles to relax.

So here is a little break down of what we do pre and post workout:
1. 5 min warmup:
This consists of a light jog in place, then high knee jogging in place, jumping jacks, and getting our arms moving in the process.
If you want to do a little stretch after this warmup you can, just don’t spend too much time, as your heart rate will decrease and your body will start to ‘cool down’.
2. Workout
3. 2 min cool down:
This consists of still moving, do NOT sit down. Keep your legs and arms moving and slowly bring your heart rate down.
4. Stretch:
You should spend anywhere from 10-15 minutes stretching.. want results.. then stretch your muscles :).

Your feedback is greatly appreciated.

Chad
Full Body Developments Inc.

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