Thursday, July 10, 2014

Health Tip Of The Week: Stretching & It's Benefits!

We focus so much on cardio and strength training, that we often forget another very important type of exercise, stretching!  More often than not, people omit stretching from their workout routines.  Everyone is short on time, so it seems to be the first thing to go.  Many don't understand just how important this step is in their routines.  So, what benefits do we get from stretching?

-  Increased Circulation
-  Better Range Of Motion
-  Reduced Risk Of Injury
-  Enhanced Muscular Condition
-  Decreased Muscle Soreness

In today's world, many people spend a large part of their day sedentary.  Whether it's sitting in the car, or at a desk, it takes it's toll on our joints and muscles.  Being in the same position, causes muscles to become smaller and tighter, making us more prone to muscle tightness, decreased range of motion, injury, and poor posture.  So, let's talk about how to stretch.....

-  Static Stretching:  Holding a stretch for 20 - 30 seconds to gentle tension (Not Pain) is a static stretch.  I do this type of stretching at the end of my workouts to relieve muscle tension and soreness. Over time these stretches will lead to a greater range of motion for your joints, resulting in less injuries in the future.

-  Dynamic Stretching:  Is stretching through continuous movement.  An example would be arm circles, hip rotations, flowing yoga poses, and brisk walking.  These stretches help to prepare your muscles for their workout.  You do not want to hold a stretch with a cold muscle.  This can lead to injury, along with decreased power and performance of that muscle.  Do these stretches in a way that is similar to the exercises that you will be doing for your workout.  A few minutes at the beginning of your routine is all you need.

Remember - Never stretch to the point of pain!  This will only lead to injury.  Stretch until you feel a gentle tension.  Over time you will notice a greater range of motion in all of your joints.  Stretch each muscle group at least twice a week, but also after prolonged sitting or standing in the same position.

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