Have you been searching for the next best exercise or training technique to add to your workout routine? Well, look no further. Among the latest trends is the importance of pre- and post-workout stretching. Now before you write-off stretching as nothing more than something you used to do in gym class, take a quick look at the surprising benefits to it offers.
While it may not get your heart pounding like strength training, or burn as many calories as aerobic exercise, stretching can be just as beneficial. Not only can stretching improve flexibility and maintain good range of motion in your joints, it can also:
· Give you an energy boost by increasing blood flow
· Support overall balance by helping fine-muscle coordination
· Deter aches and pains from exercise and from life
· Help you to get more out of your workout
· Prevent injury
· Lower your blood sugar
· Reduce stress and promote relaxation
Still not convinced that stretching should be a part of your workout routine? Well, there’s a chance you may be doing it wrong—at the wrong time that is.
Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind:
Starting your workout with dynamic stretches can prep your body for the exercise to come. These are stretches that take your body through a range of motions and raise your core temperature. You can try: lunge with a twist, knee to chest, high kicks and butt-kickers.
On the other hand, static stretches—stretches you get into and hold for a certain length of time without moving—before exercise can strain or pull a muscle. So, save these stretches for after your workout when your muscles are warm and to prevent the build-up lactic acid. You can try: Hamstring stretch, quadriceps stretch, calf stretch and shoulder stretch.
It's important to keep safety in mind when you're doing static stretches in particular. Ease into each stretch and move slowly until you feel the targeted muscle or muscles gently extend. Try to hold each position for 10 to 30 seconds. Relax and then repeat the stretch two or three times. Breathe slowly and naturally.
Be sure to stretch the muscles on both sides of your body. If you stretch one hamstring, don't forget to do the other.
Listen to your body.
Stretching is simple; however, finding the right exercise routine for your unique health needs isn’t quite that easy. To help you feel more comfortable and confident while working out, Gwinnett Medical Center’s Fitness & Performance Center offers personalized, hands-on training from knowledgeable specialists. You can count on GMC’s experts to help you turn your fitness goal into a success.