As I strive to live an active and healthy lifestyle, making each and everyday count, exercise has become a core part of who I am. Living a fit and healthy lifestyle not only will change your body, but it changes your mind, your attitude and your mood. I like to start off each and every morning with a hot cup of java, then I slip into a pair of my favorite Critical Pump leggings, before I find a bright open space where I can engage in a good 30-45 minutes of physical activity. Exercising each and everyday, helps me to get fit, stay healthy and feel beautiful.
One of my favorite parts of exercising is stretching. What is stretching, you ask? Stretching is a form of physical activity in which we stretch out a specific muscle or tendon, and is one of the most overlooked aspects of exercise. Regular stretching after a workout, is an essential part of your muscle repair and recovery. Not only will you be able increase your range of motion, but you will achieve increased flexibility and reduce muscle tension.
Find out why you too, should start stretching today! I guarantee, after you read my top 5 benefits below, you will be strapping on your fitness leggings, pulling out your yoga mat and joining me on a journey to a better body and better health.
Top 5 Benefits of Post Exercise Stretching!
1. Increased Flexibility – One of the major benefits of stretching is increased and enhanced flexibility of different muscle groups. Flexibility plays a very important role in fitness as it is necessary to help reduce tension in constricted and contracted muscles. With regular post-workout stretching your body will become more flexible. Your range of motion will increase immensely, helping to improve your performance and decrease your risk of injuries.
2. Promotes Muscle Tone – Stretching after an intense weight training session is extremely important. It will help to reduce muscle soreness and fatigue. After being stretched thoroughly, the muscles will be able to recover faster and will be pumped and primed for your next workout.
3. Improved Circulation – During an intense workout your body pumps blood to your heart faster making it beat at a rapid rate. Stretching after your workout will allow your body to cool down, helping to return your heart rate to its normal pace. Stretching will also help increase blood circulation directly to your muscles helping them to recover and repair.
4. Eliminates Lactic Acid – Anytime you work your muscles, the body will produce lactic acid which will make your muscles fatigued and sore. Stretching after your workout helps release and eliminate any lactic acid that has accumulated inside the body helping to relax your sore muscles.
5. Cools Down the Body Gradually – Stretching after your workout is a very important part in helping to gradually reduce your heart rate to its normal pace. Your body has a much better chance of coming back to its normal rhythm with gentle stretching than rushing out of the gym into open air. This gradual cool down puts way less strain on the heart muscle and will also allow your body to evaporate sweat, preventing your body from feeling overheated.
When is the Best time to Stretch?
The best time to start stretching out your muscles is while they are still warm and very pliable. You can do this during a Yoga, Pilates or Dance class or immediately after the completion of any other workout. Check out some of my favorite tips on staying fit for the Working Girl in “your guide to staying active at the office”. I would love to hear how you like to get fit, please leave me your comments below. Happy stretching!
￼* all images by Olga Maslov