The benefits of stretching!
THE BENEFITS OF STRETCHING ARE CRYSTAL CLEAR
You’re dripping with sweat and your workout is done and dusted. But before you even think about grabbing a postworkout snack or taking a cold shower, don’t forget one of the most important elements – your cool down! ‘After I workout, it’s important for me to stretch and lengthen,’ Halle Berry, 52, shares. ‘Fitness is not just about running, lifting and punching. For me, being athletic and super-fit is also about being still, stretching and breathing.’ It’s easy to forget to stretch. It’s often overlooked because the results are not as visible as lifting weights and squatting. But stretching can actually lead to better posture, fewer aches and pains and greater confidence. This is due to the increase in blood flow and circulation, with stretching sending oxygen to your brain for a clearer mind and happier moods.
And that’s not all! ‘Including stretching in my fitness program helps my muscles stay long, limber, improves my mobility and range of motion and, most importantly, helps me avoid injuries,’ Halle advocates.
Spend10 minutes after your workout performing a series of static stretches (holding a stretch from anywhere between 30 seconds to a minute). Ironing out the kinks with a foam roller will also assist your overall recovery.
And, don’t forget to stretch before your workout as well! This is where dynamic or moving stretches come into play, where things like lunging, twisting and shoulder circles help to activate muscles that you’ll be using in your workout and improve your range of motion. Just remember – dynamic before, static after!