Yesterday marked the first day of spring! I don’t know about you guys, but I’m SO excited for warmer weather. We’ve had some really great weather here in Ontario and I actually got outside and went for a run today because the weather was so great! My blog posts are always inspired by events going on in my life, and as I get back into running I’ve been also keeping stretching in mind. If the warmer weather has inspired you to get active I posted a blog post about Warming Up to Running Long Distance if you’re new or took some time off.
I thought today would be a great day to talk about the benefits of stretching and why you should be doing it EVERYDAY even if you aren’t working out! Some benefits of stretching include:
- Increased flexibility and joint range of motion
- Improved circulation
- Better posture
- Stress relief
- Enhanced Coordination
It is also important to keep in mind proper stretching techniques. If you are utilizing stretching as a part of a rehabilitation program, your physiotherapist can help you with those specifics. The techniques that I am going to be talking about are some general suggestions to help modify and improve your approach to stretching.
Warm Up First – Stretching muscles when they’re cold increases your risk of pulled muscles.
Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds – It takes time to lengthen tissues safely. Hold your stretches for from around 30 seconds up to 60 seconds.
Don’t bounce – Bouncing as you stretch can cause small tears (microtears) in the muscle, which leave scar tissue as the muscle heals. When the scar tissue heals, it can tighten the muscle even further, making you even less flexible—and more prone to pain.
Focus on a pain-free stretch – If you feel pain as you stretch, you’ve gone too far. Back off to the point where you don’t feel any pain, then hold the stretch.
Relax and breathe freely – Don’t hold your breath while you’re stretching.
Stretch both sides – Make sure your joint range of motion is as equal as possible on each side of your body
Stretch before and after activity – Light stretching after your warm-up followed by a more thorough stretching regimen after your workout is going to benefit you the most!
A great way to incorporate stretching into your everyday routine is to take up yoga. This could be by going to classes OR by teaching yourself. You can find youtube videos about yoga for beginners. Yoga stretches the muscles, helps practice balance, focus on breathing and relaxation.
I hope you all learned something from this post and are going to start incorporating stretching into your daily routine! Do you practice yoga in your spare time? I’m looking into yoga more and I would love to hear from you, leave me a comment below or on any of my social media accounts!
Till next time,