Many times after we are done with our workout, we run out the door forgetting a VERY important last step- and that is STRETCHING! If you are in a hurry, it is better to cut your cardio or weight training short by 10 minutes to add in some stretches. Stretching is an easy way to gain major benefits with your body’s physical improvements. Embrace your stretching and make it a time to clear your head and relax.
Helps you achieve and maintain flexibility, which is important for all ages. Flexibility helps you to perform your exercises with better form and with fewer injuries. When your muscles, joints and ligaments are not flexible, you have higher risk of muscle strains, sprains and tissue injuries.
Increases blood flow, which helps with circulation. Good circulation will help rid your body of toxins and waste, increase recovery, and decrease soreness and joint/muscle injuries.
Helps with coordination and balance, which helps you use good form during your weight and cardio training.
Helps you regroup and bring down your heart rate to a steady state and helps lower blood pressure
Stretching the hamstrings, buttocks, and back will help minimize back pain.
How to safely stretch:
You can stretch before a workout, but make sure you warm up with cardio for at least 5-10 minutes first.
While stretching, focus on major muscles, especially the ones that you are working: Quads, hamstrings, neck, shoulders, lower back, hips and calves.
Hold each stretch for about 20 seconds without BOUNCING, release and repeat one more time.
Do not push your stretch to the point where it is painful, but rather to where you can feel a slight pull.
Keep up your stretches because if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it! Your range of motion will decrease very quickly without continued practice.
Here is a great link for basic stretches: