After you finish working out, what do you do?
Most of us... we walk it off and relax. Maybe have a shower or grab a snack to refuel.
However, that's not really the smartest choice.
This post will let you know the top 10 reasons it’s important to stretch after a workout.
The reasons range from reducing soreness to increasing endorphins.
Different stretches will benefit you in different ways, so consult your coach or trainer (that's me for some of you) to find what’s best for you before you begin doing cool down stretches.
Stretching after you exercise is one of the best ways to improve your health and reduce post-workout pain.
So often stretching after exercise is overlooked, when in fact, it should be seen as part of your session. In my teens I was flexible & active. Moving into my 20's & 30's my activity levels stayed fairly regular but I noticed my body stiffens up quicker and flexibility decreases if I don't stretch regularly.
So even if you are thinking "I'm just a golfer" or "I only went for a walk"
I highly recommend you incorporate stretching into your workout routine or even as an entire workout routine more often.
So in saying that here are MY top 10 reasons to stretch after a workout!
Top 10 Reasons to Stretch After a Workout
1. Stiffness and Soreness
During a hard workout, muscles go through numerous contractions which leave them in a miss-shaped and shortened state, which is why you will feel stiffness and soreness if you don’t try and rectify the state by stretching.
2. Lactic Acid
Your body produces lactic acid which makes your muscles tired and sore, stretching helps to eliminate the lactic acid.
Endorphins are released after a workout once your body starts to cool down, stretching helps slow the cooling process ensuring you feel energised after your workout.
4. Blood Flow
Stretching helps the blood flow back into your muscles at a more regulated pace, allowing your heart rate to come back to normal, your muscles feed on oxygen and nutrients brought in by the blood.
5. Lower Back Pain
The most common complaint amongst my clients when they first come to me is the lower back area. Nine times out of ten stretching the hamstrings and hip flexors, muscles that are attached to the pelvis, will relieve that pain.
6. General Posture
General posture is improved, people tend to stand up straighter particularly if you focus on stretching backs, shoulders and chest.
7. Tension and Anxiety
General tension and anxiety lead to tension in your muscles, whether that’s stiff necks or tight shoulders. Releasing and stretching those muscles often leads to an overall feeling of stress relief.
Increased flexibility, which will happen the more you stretch, will enable you to exercise more effectively.
9. Toned Muscles
Stretching over time will give your muscles tone and your body will look more slender. You only need to look at the bodies of those that practice Yoga on a regular basis.
10. Reduce the Risk of Injury
Last but by no means least you reduce the risk of injury as you will have an improved range of motion, which in turn decreases resistance on your muscles.
Static stretching is excellent for post exercise and each time you move into a stretch hold for 25 to 30 seconds, this gives the muscle enough time to regain its shape.
Foam rolling is a great addition to your stretching routine, especially if you have a part of your body that is particularly tight, it also increases circulation and helps to lower your heart rate.
Think of stretching as a way of resetting and gaining equilibrium after putting your body through stress. Rather than seeing it as an optional part of your workout think of stretching as part of your session, you will be maximising the benefits off all the hard work you’ve put in.
If you'd like a hand figuring out the best stretches that could help you depending on your type of workout please drop me a line using my Contact Page