You always stretch before and after a workout (well, you really should 😉) However, don’t reserve stretching exclusively for your fitness routine – get into a habit of doing it every day and you will feel the benefits of relieving your muscle tension, moving better and not having to say “oooof” when you get up from the chair!
It does not have to be long – a few minutes is sufficient; try and do it at the same time every day as this helps you to maintain the routine – first thing in the morning, every hour or two throughout the day or just before you hop into bed in the evening.
Need some help with what stretches to do? I am a big fan of Hasfit, an online workout programme where you can find some great stretching routines of various lengths. If you don’t want to follow the whole routine, just pick out a few stretches for yourself which suit you.
To really feel the benefit, hold a stretch for at least 20 seconds.
Links and videos to your Hasfit stretches:
25 minutes (yoga stretches)
Why should I stretch you ask yourself? Well…..
Stretching Improves Local Blood Circulation
When you stretch, you’re opening up areas of tension that may have contributed to decreased circulation to certain areas of the body. Opening up these areas helps oxygen and nutrients to get to every cell as needed, leaving your body functioning better overall.
Stretching Can Boost Energy
Feeling sluggish and need a bit of a pick-me-up? By simply moving and stretching after being sitting for a while can be the perfect remedy. Stretch your arms at your desk, stand up and take a walk around – it doesn’t need to be long – 5 minutes is enough.
Stretching Can Improve Posture
By elongating your muscles through stretching, you become more “body aware” and realise some of your poor postural habits which have become comfortable. Becoming more aware of when you fall into those bad postures means you will unconsciously bring yourself back to a better position.
Stretching Can Improve Athletic Performance
When performing dynamic stretching before a workout – a type which includes movement along with your stretches as opposed to static stretching, the kind you simply hold – can improve your performance. It warms up your muscles for the upcoming activity, helping to prevent injury.
Stretching Can Increase Your Range of Motion
When your muscles are tight, it prevents you from getting the full range of motion in your joints. For example, if your hips and legs are tense, it may mean you can’t move your hips as smoothly or as much as you need to. When you stretch regularly, you’re keeping those muscles around the joints loose, allowing them to move as they should.
It’s important to note that when you add stretching into your daily routine, be sure to listen to your body. Don’t force a stretch past where it feels comfortable; you don’t want to injure yourself. I would say about 80% of what you are capable of.
And yes, I do stretch every day.