What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?
I bet you have a nice big stretch. And I bet it feels awesome and your muscles thanked you.
Your muscles will also thank you if you stretch them before and after a workout.
Those muscles need to be warmed up before they are put to work. Think about a brand new hair elastic. Do you pull it out of the package and pop it into your hair? Or do you give it a good stretch first to get it all limber and ready to do its job? You need to treat your muscles just as nicely.
Taking the time to stretch both before and after a workout will help reduce injury. It will also help you be able to move the next day! If you’re just getting back into the gym like I am, it’s very easy to feel a great amount of pain the day after you’ve visited the gym. Since getting back at it, I have not once woken up the next day feeling stiff and sore. I credit this to the fact that I limber up my muscles and also that I don’t push myself too far during my workouts.
Any fitness facility will have an area to do your stretching away from equipment. I prefer the Women’s Only section in my local GoodLife Fitness. There is an area with blue mats with room for four people at once. Not once have I had to wait to use the mats. I also make use of the pillars on either sides of the mats to support myself when doing stretches while standing.
Make sure you are stretching all major muscle groups. I like to spend a little bit more time on the groups that I know tend to cause me the most trouble. This includes my hamstrings, quads, calves and shoulders. You shouldn’t rush through your stretches; however, you can easily shorten the amount of time you spend doing them with one simple tip:
Stretch multiple muscle groups at the same time.
These are just a few ideas that can help you incorporate both arm and leg stretches all at once. There are a multitude of resources available on the internet and from your local gym to help you learn some fantastic stretches. Focus on your key areas but don’t skip out on the rest of them! I’m sure once you’ve finished your workout that you are tired and ready to go home. Take 5 minutes to complete your stretches again before you leave. You will thank me in the morning!
This post was written as part of the GoodLife Fitness Blogger Ambassador Program, however all opinions expressed are my own. Please note that I am not a personal trainer nor a doctor, simply a mom sharing some tips for the gym. Please consult with a professional if you have any questions or concerns.
Andrea can always be found with a new craft in front of her, a form of technology on her right and a coffee on her left. This is how she survives suburbia with her two crazy toddlers in tow.