STRETCHING – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW!

Stretching is often the neglected part of many peoples exercise programme. We know its super easy to rush straight off after a workout and we know sometimes it’s the last thing you feel like doing! BUT it’s vital! In this blog post we’ll cover just a few reasons why stretching is SO important and how it will increase your recovery. We’ll also explain (in simple terms) the difference between dynamic and static stretching and provide you with some recommendations on when and how long to stretch for!

 

Why stretch?

  • It kickstarts your recovery! Often the day after a hard workout you might experience DOMs – delayed on set muscle soreness. This is completely normal when you are pushing yourself outside your comfort zone. Taking some time to stretch will reduce and sometimes eliminate the post workout stiff/sore muscles as it increases the blood flow and nutrient supply to the muscles. Stretching will ensure you can walk the next day!
  • It help’s to correct bad posture. In todays world we spend sooo much time sitting! Many people sit at work, sit to and from and often when they get home they sit and watch tv, all this sitting (often slouched forwards) can cause serious back, neck and shoulder pain. Stretching helps to lengthen out your muscles which corrects posture and decreases the stiffness/soreness you can sometimes feel after a long day at your desk
  • It can be great time out! Taking some time out to stretch is a great way to give yourself a chance to relax, restore and release tension. Spending just 10-20 minutes each night stretching can be excellent time out
  • It increases your range of motion and flexibility. Stretching lengthens the muscles, it is amazing how quickly your flexibility can increase in a relatively short amount of time by taking just 10-15 minutes each day to stretch post workout

 

Dynamic Stretch V Static Stretching – Whats the difference? 

This question we have been asked a lot! To keep it simple dynamic stretching is when you complete a series of flowing movements at a fast pace e.g. side steps, start jumps, leg swings or arm circles. Dynamic stretching increases blood flow, heart rate and prepares the body for exercise. We recommend dynamic stretching PRE workout for at least 10 minutes.

Static stretching is when you hold one position for 25-30 seconds before releasing. We recommend static stretching for 10 – 20 minutes POST workout as part of your cool down. When static stretching pay attention to the areas that may be slightly tight or sore. Don’t stretch beyond the point where it becomes painful!

 

How much time should I spend stretching? 

Ideally if you can spend 10 -15 minutes pre work out completing dynamic stretches and 15-20 minutes completing static stretching as part of your cool down that would be excellent!

However something is alway better than nothing, even 5 minutes pre and post workout will provide you with benefits. If you are in a hurry post work out just focus on stretching the muscle groups that you have worked e.g if you have completed an upper body workout focus on getting in some upper body stretches to kick start the muscle recovery process.

Once a week we recommend completing a long stretch session 20 – 40 minutes. This could be in the form of yoga or just completing a series of stretches starting from the upper body to the lower. Its also a great idea to incorporate foam rolling into these sessions also.

Tip – Set an alarm on your phone at 8.30pm weeknights (this is generally when we are chilling out catching up on shorty or grey’s) that reminds us to stretch. Rather than sitting on the couch, sit on the floor for a few minutes and get in some stretching! Works a treat!

We hope that this post helps you to understand the benefits of stretching a little better and encourages you to start  incorporating stretching into your exercise programme. If you have any more questions just flick us an email we love hearing from you hello@realhealthnz.co.nz 

 

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