The Ben­e­fits of Stretch­ing

mailife - - Contents - Pho­tos by BAUBAU

When you’ve fin­ished your run or your work­out the last thing you think of do­ing is hang­ing around and stretch­ing. For the ma­jor­ity of peo­ple once the work­out is done, so are they. Did you know that you could in­crease the pro­duc­tiv­ity of your work­out by 20% if you start and fin­ish your ses­sion with a deep and ef­fec­tive stretch. Most of us know how to stretch, it was part of our phys­i­cal education rou­tine at school - but do we know why we do it? Stretch­ing isn’t just go­ing through the mo­tions and pre­tend­ing to your­self that you are stretch­ing, it is a nec­es­sary part of your work­out to en­sure your body can re­pair, re­cover and re­ju­ve­nate. Prior to your work­out your body is cold and there­fore you should look at adding dy­namic stretches to your rou­tine be­fore you even start mov­ing. Dy­namic means move­ment there­fore th­ese stretches should in­clude jump­ing lunges, al­ter­nate leg swings, trunk ro­ta­tions, high kicks and jump squats - the key is to grad­u­ally awaken your body and in­tro­duce it to the fact that it is about to get ac­tive. Th­ese types of stretches are very ben­e­fi­cial as they mimic sport-like mo­tions and phys­i­cal move­ments and there­fore pre­pare your body for ac­tion. When you com­plete your work­out is the ideal time to do static stretches. Th­ese stretches are ben­e­fi­cial post work­out as they help re­move the build up of lac­tic acid from your body and help re­pair and elon­gate your mus­cles. This key time to stretch will en­sure you don’t wake up the fol­low­ing morn­ing with DOMS (de­layed on­set mus­cle sore­ness). Stretch­ing af­ter a work­out will en­sure that you reg­u­late your body tem­per­ate and cool down, en­sur­ing blood flow re­turns to nor­mal. If you’ve ever rushed off home af­ter a work­out and felt dizzy or light headed then this is why - you didn’t al­low your body to reg­u­late back to nor­mal. Be sure to hold each stretch for be­tween 30 sec­onds to 2 min­utes. If you feel you need a deeper stretch then take a deep breath and grad­u­ally in­crease the stretch fur­ther. Make sure you are not hold­ing your breath, as your mus­cles re­quire a con­stant sup­ply of oxy­gen to get the most out of your stretch.Also en­sure you do not bounce whilst in the stretch as you may risk in­jury. Stretch­ing should feel like a slight pull or elon­ga­tion on the mus­cle but should never hurt.

Th­ese are the Bu­la­li­cious top tips on why you should add prior and post stretch­ing rou­tines into your work­out ses­sion:


Stretch­ing will en­sure that you awaken your body, es­pe­cially if you have just come from be­ing at work all day and sat for long pe­ri­ods,or you are plan­ning an early morn­ing work­out af­ter ly­ing in bed for sev­eral hours. Stretch­ing will also help your co­or­di­na­tion and en­sure you get in the zone, pre­par­ing you for the ac­tiv­i­ties or ex­er­cise you are about to em­bark on.


Dy­namic stretch­ing be­fore ex­er­cise en­sures all of your mus­cles are sup­plied with blood which stores nu­tri­ents and oxy­gen vi­tal for your mus­cles to work.


Stretch­ing can aid our spinal com­pres­sion, which is where we ba­si­cally shrink ev­ery­day be­cause the car­ti­lage in our joints and knees be­comes com­pressed. Although the ad­just­ment is only 1% this means a good stretch can make you half an inch taller. Pos­ture can also af­fect your con­fi­dence, how your clothes fit and your over­all health. So af­ter your stretch, shoul­ders back and be sure to strut your stuff.


If you reg­u­larly stretch your over­all flex­i­bil­ity will in­crease. This in turn means that when you go about your ev­ery­day life you are less likely to pull a mus­cle bend­ing to pick things up or reach­ing for things. So many back and knee in­juries are caused by peo­ple’s bod­ies not be­ing able to do the sim­plest of tasks such as tie their shoe lace. Be­ing flex­i­ble will en­sure that you can keep ac­tive for longer and keep­ing mo­bile in later life will help off­set arthri­tis and os­teo­poro­sis.


Prior to a work­out you can of­ten feel stiff and tense, how­ever a good stretch can im­prove how pro­duc­tive your ses­sion is and how far you can lunge, jump and run, en­sur­ing you get the most from your work­outs. The bet­ter the stretch of a mus­cle the more range of move­ment you will have at the joint.


A good stretch is proven to im­prove your over­all mood. This is be­cause in or­der to stretch your move­ments are slower and much more con­trolled, your breath­ing is slow mean­ing you are calmer and you are fo­cused on in­hal­ing and ex­hal­ing oxy­gen at a slower and more con­trolled rate whilst en­dur­ing each stretch. This in turn en­ables you to think clearer and make more lu­cid de­ci­sions.


Through­out the day we ac­quire stress. For some it may only be small but for oth­ers they may feel like they are car­ry­ing the weight of the world on their shoul­ders. This is be­cause the hu­man body stores all of our stress in our mus­cles, mak­ing them tight and sore. Stretch­ing can elim­i­nate stress by elon­gat­ing the mus­cles and rid­ding them of the built-up ten­sion, in turn feel­ing like you are rid­ding your body of the day’s wor­ries. So the next time you think of skip­ping your stretch af­ter your work­out think again, your body will thank you for it in the long run.

Loloma Levu, The Bu­la­li­cious Activewear Team

*Mod­els wear the new Trop­i­cal Vibes Col­lec­tion from Bu­la­li­cious Activewear and is sold via our on­line store www.bu­la­li­ with free ship­ping world­wide. As well as re­tail stores Es­sen­tials in Port De­na­rau, Essence of Fiji Re­ju­ve­na­tion Cen­tre Nadi, and Prouds in both Suva and Nadi.*

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