Stretching is Good, Right?
Stretching is, unfortunately, one of those things that tends to get overlooked, especially after you finished a long hard workout and the only thing on your mind is probably a shower and some food, right? Well, sadly you are doing a great disservice to your body if you don’t stretch after working out. There is nothing sexier than long lean muscles and the way to get those is to workout, eat right, and of course stretch!
What Should I Stretch?
It really depends on what type of workout you just completed. Did you do just leg work or a full body workout? In general, think about what muscles you used and focus on those. For example, if it was a leg day, your main focus should be placed on stretching out your leg muscles which are very warm at this point and ready to be stretched.
When Should I Stretch?
Your muscles should be warmed before stretching.Think of your muscles like a rubber band, the first time you try and stretch the rubber band it is pretty tight. After playing with the rubber band for a while it begins to warm up and it stretches further and further. That is exactly what your muscles are doing when you workout, you are warming up your muscle. This allows you to stretch further and safer.
Should I Stretch First Thing in the Morning?
We all know that a good stretch and a long yawn first thing in the morning feels great. However, if we revisit when to stretch…our muscles should always be warm before stretching. Try doing a little light exercise each morning before stretching, like jogging in place, squats, lunges, pushups, and really anything that you can do from your living room. This will help you warm up your muscles for some stretching action.
How Long Should I Stretch?
There is a lot of conflicting opinions on this…a good rule of thumb though is after every workout give your body at least 15 minutes of stretching time.
How Long Should I Hold Each Stretch?
This is really dependent on your flexibility goals and current flexibility state. If you are on the less flexible side, start small. Hold each stretch for a count of 10 and remember to breathe. As you become more flexible you may start to notice you can hold stretches for a longer period of time comfortably.
What if it is Painful?
Likely when stretching you will always feel some discomfort, a stretching sensation. However, stretching should never be painful. Listen to your body and always stop if something is causing you pain.