When I think about stretching one of the first things that comes to mind is my high school swim coach. She was a senior citizen with silver hair and funky toes. I adored her. ( She was also my guidance counselor and gave me whatever class schedule that I wanted all 3 years of high school.) One thing that I heard her say probably 53825803869308269038 times was “Make sure you stretch…something something something….lactic acid.” We always stretched right before we got in the pool which is actually not something I would recommend now, unless you have warmed up your body some other way prior to stretching. But nonetheless her intentions were good. I think she wanted us to stretch afterwards too but I could probably count on one hand how many times I actually stretched after practice.
Looking back, it makes me wonder what could have been. In the last few years I have learned a lot about exercise and how important stretching is. Proper stretching after a workout can really help you get ready for your next workout. It does not have to be all…
Yes, that is Madonna.
Though, all of these people have frickin’ sweet bods there is no need for you to attempt and contort your own body into any of these positions. You will certainly get more flexible over time. In the beginning just focus on stretching properly. You may need to ask someone, perhaps even take a yoga class, or google some articles on stretching. When I lived in Nashville and attended Barre Amped classes regularly Suzanne, the owner and creator would always say “Find that place of slight discomfort.” I mean, if you feel like you are about to cry, you may be going to far in your stretch. There is no need to get injured while stretching the whole point is to prevent injury and burn out.
Benefits of stretching warm muscles:
1. Enhancement of overall physical fitness
2. Increased flexibility
3. Develop your body awareness
4. Reduced risk of injury
5. Aid in relaxing and stress reducing
These are just a few of the many. I am frustrated knowing how many people get injured that could have avoided it. Many people who are new to exercise or who have not exercised in a long time jump into things really quickly. They do not know to stretch and either end up getting injured or they burn out really quickly.
Just a tip-Everything I have read suggests holding each stretch for at least around 20 seconds.
Think of stretching as an investment into your next exercise.
Do you have some favorite stretches? One of mine is the pigeon stretch.