The bountiful benefits of stretching after exercising!
Feel your best!
Static stretching plays a vital role in fitness and overall wellness. It increases flexibility, improves balance, aids good posture, eases tight muscles, helps ward off joint pain and lowers the risk of falls and injury. This type of stretching can be performed any time but it’s ideally done after exercising. Warm muscles stretch more. When you perform these stretches after you exercise, your muscles maintain their increased range of movement and stay more flexible—even after you cool down.
Hamstrings, hip flexors, chest, shoulders and calves are the most common tight muscles (due to less-than-ideal posture). These stretches address these muscle groups.
Whether you’re an athlete, a senior or someone who wants to stay pain-free and functional, regular stretching is essential. Ideally, it should be performed daily. If that’s not practical, try to perform a stretching routine at least 2 to 3 times a week. Take each stretch through a normal, pain-free range of motion. Breathe through the stretches (don’t hold your breath). Perform each stretch 3 to 5 times, holding each for 20 to 30 seconds.
Editor’s note: Dynamic stretching, performed before exercising, addresses different issues. We’ll cover dynamic stretching in December/January 2018.
Fitness expert Christine V. Woods, MSEd, ACSM-CCEP, CSCS is a 25-year industry veteran, serving as a clinical exercise physiologist, lifestyle coach, university educator and fitness educator for the Athletic & Fitness Association of America (AFAA). Photography by Michael Mullen.
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