Do you take time to stretch after exercising? Or is it something you skip because you don't think it really does very much? The truth is, it's more than just a few quick moves in cool down. the more you work out, the more you need to stretch out.
Stretching keeps your body healthier and make you feel younger, and it can also increase the effectiveness of your workouts and sustain your body for longer, protecting it from common injuries caused by more intensive exercises such as HIIT.
For your body to effectively increase muscle mass, it needs to produce collagen. When this happens during strength training, it lessens the amount of elastin in your muscles, making them stiffer and your body harder to move. This is often why you feel tight after intense bouts of exercise. Adding stretching and mobilisations to your workout routine helps to elongate the muscle fibres, straightening out damaged and scarred tissue and opening up the body, giving you a longer and leaner appearance.
Why is this important? Besides injury prevention and postural improvement, it allows you a bigger range of motion, reduces wear and tear on the connective tissue surrounding your joints and also benefits your strength training, as with a wider range of motion exercises such as squats or mountain climbers that we tend to dread in class become easier. Plus, after a good stretch you'll feel a lot less sore the next day as lengthening the muscle increases blood flow and helps release tension from the muscle fibres.
When should you stretch? After a workout is much better than before one, as stretching before strengthening can increase cellular damage . Stretching after your muscles have been worked will have much more of an effect and leave your body feeling open and ready for more, meaning you're that much more likely to keep your motivation up and reach your fitness goals. Read on for classes that incorporate strengthening and lengthening to help you look good and feel even better!
24 August 2017