4 Great Reasons To Make Flexibility Your Focus
I teach Sport Stretch at my weight loss retreat in Whistler. The first thing I do is educate them on why it is worth their time, by sharing the key benefits. Most often when kick starting a fitness routine, cardio activities and weight training get priority as they burn more calories. While this is true, stretching is what keeps you in the game.
1 – It releases muscle tension. Everyone gets tight in their muscles and joints, especially as you get older. Stretching will help release that sensation of feeling ‘locked’. And when you’re less locked up, you’ll feel younger – consequently giving you the confidence to push your cardio and strength training sessions harder.
2 – It has a zen factor. There’s truth behind the damaging effects of stress, and stretching will help you to relax. Although it can be hard to take time for yourself, increased flexibility means that you are increasing blood flow. This taps into your oxygen supply and gives you energy. When muscles are stretched, they’ll hold less tension. Less tension equals less stress… it’s a beautiful circle.
Be sure to warm up well when stretching in cooler temperatures
3 – Reduces muscle tension. When you’ve got a great big annoying knot right in the middle of your back, taking it to the mat might be the answer. Stretching is the next best thing to a massage as the muscles improve their circulation and get a booster of nutrients, which makes you feel loose. Say goodbye to slouching – stretching keeps the back in stronger alignment, stretching out your shoulders and chest especially which will make you look like you’re in better shape instantly!
4 – Prepares the body for working out. Nothing screams ‘get your butt into gear’ than stretching before a workout. Enhance workouts with proper mental and physical preparation through full-body flexibility exercises and your body will be ready to lift weights through fuller range of motion. Be mindful of your breathing while you stretch, with deep and controlled breaths including full exhalations. It’s often easier to fully inhale but not exhale – practice a rhythmic pattern that is both deliberate and aware. If going into a cardio workout, include dynamic stretching through an active start and finish position. More on the different types of stretching in a future post – subscribe to my posts in the box below.
Challenge yourself to find a few minutes to stretch everyday over the holiday season. Happy stretching! 🙂
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