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Posted on 08-05-2014
To stretch or not to stretch—this is no question for people who want to stay healthy and avoid injury. The answer is absolutely. Many studies into stretching show that a regular routine can improve the range of motion in joints and keep ligaments limber, helping to lower your injury risk. This will help you avoid unnecessary pain and downtime in your life and activities. But still, many people do ask us about when and how to stretch—and those are very important questions to answer.
When to Stretch & How to Stretch
A few gentle good morning stretches as you start the day are a wonderful way to get your body warmed up and awaken your mind, and we highly recommend them. But midday and evening stretches are helpful too. Oddly enough, however, stretching just before a workout may not actually be the best time to do it. Warming up a little before hand is always a good idea; like gradually working up from a brisk walk before breaking into your run. But studies show that pre-workout stretching can prematurely tire you and slow your workout.
On the other hand, stretching after a workout is a fantastic idea. Your body is already warmed up and the circulation is pumping through your muscles, joints and ligaments. This will enable you to do deeper, longer stretches that can enhance your flexibility.
How to stretch is also a great question. We can give you individual tips and pointers, but generally speaking, you want to stretch when your muscles are warmed up a bit first, and gently hold your stretches in place between 30-60 seconds. Do not bounce, hold your breath or stretch until it hurts. Also make sure to stretch both sides of your body equally.
This proper stretching protocol can help you enjoy improved flexibility and coordination, better circulation and range of motion, and even enhanced relaxation—no question that those are all great things that help you feel great and avoid injury!
What other questions do you have about getting the most out of your stretching routine?
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