It is common knowledge that stretching is beneficial when you want to start working to help prevent injury and increases mobility. What is not as commonly known or practised is stretching after a workout, which is just as important if not more so than pre-workout stretching.
The importance of stretching
Stretching is vital to keep your muscles flexible, strong and healthy while also ensuring that you are able to perform any workout to your full potential. Stretching not only benefits your muscles but it can also protect your joints by making them stronger and increase your general mobility.
Pre-workout stretching is great for loosening up your body and helping to prepare your muscles for exercise and dynamic movement. Post-workout stretching is vital to maintain a healthy and fully functioning physical lifestyle as it can reduce stiffness in the body by combating lactic acid build up, decrease the chances of injury after a workout and it helps your body cool down by allowing your heart rate to return to normal.
The best stretches for you
Side-to-side neck stretches
Stretching your neck is extremely beneficial as the motion of gently pulling your neck from left to right releases tension built up from exercising. Regularly stretching your neck can help with the alignment of your spine as well as the decompression of your vertebra if you suffer from tightness after exercising or general stress.
This movement helps stretch your shoulders, arms and upper back while also stabilising your shoulder joints. By stretching your arms out and to the side of your body, you are increasing not only your flexibility but also your range of motion and flexibility in your upper body.
This stretch targets the hip, quad and glutes of your body which can easily become tighter after physical activity. This movement involves walking in a straight line with intermediate and deep lunges that allow for the lower body to be activated while also promoting better balance and focus.
This is a sitting position stretch that helps activate your whole body from your arms to your lower back and hamstrings. The standing version of this stretch is equally beneficial, but it is important to note that bouncing your back and hands toward your feet can cause more harm than good as you overexert your back. A gentle reach towards your toes is all you need to achieve, and your overall stretch will improve over time with continued practise.
A great way to practise these techniques is to incorporate yoga into your workout routine. Whether you are familiar with yoga or not, read “6 effective yoga poses for beginners” to learn more about the benefits of yoga and how easy it is to get started.
Stretch with Body Action Gym
Body Action Gym caters to every part of your fitness journey from diet, clothing, exercise and even recovery specifically with the Flexibility Anterior and Flexibility Posterior machines. The Anterior machine assists with stretching your back and lower body to ease pain in these areas or to increase the general health and mobility of your lower body. The Posterior machine focuses on the prevention of injury and pain specifically in your lower back as it has softer surfaces that are adjustable to suit your specific stretching needs. The gym also has open studios and training areas that are perfect for allowing you to stretch in your own way and in your own time. For professional stretching guidance you can also book an immersive yoga class through the My Wellness App to get personalised and focus assistance where you need it most.
Stretching may not seem like the most exciting activity to practise but it is definitely one of the most important ones to include in your fitness lifestyle because of all the benefits it offers. So, the next time you are about to hit the gym or get into a workout session, remember that a little stretching can help you go a long way.