I incorporate stretching in all my client’s sessions and programs, in my bootcamps, my boxing classes, HIIT classes and cycle classes… I stress the importance of stretching to everyone… But I often neglect stretching myself!!I’m guilty, as I’m so busy with running a business, training my clients, modelling and being a university student. I often use whatever time I have left, to squeeze a workout in. Which most days leaves me with no time for stretching.
But my body lately has been sure to remind me, that I need to
MAKE THE TIME TO STRETCH!!
I thought to myself what would encourage me to stretch more?
I’m a nerd, so I went straight to my Exercise Science University textbooks and the web, I thought doing some research on the beneficial impact stretching has, would create a greater desire for me to apply it more to my own life!
Do you sound like me? Don’t Stretch? Don’t have the time? Always on the go? Find it boring? Don’t see the importance?
Hopefully this blog will inspire you to make it part of your busy schedule too!
Okay let’s start with the basics….
What is stretching?In the ‘Applied Anatomy and Biomechanics in Sport’ (2nd Ed) Textbook it states: ‘ Stretching is defined as a movement applied by an external and/or internal force in order to increase muscle flexibility and/or joint ROM (Range of Motion)’
Whilst I could go into great depth about the muscles, tendons, joints, proprioceptors etc that all play a role in the stretching process… (I sometimes bore my clients with this lecture while I make them hold the plank hehe), we need to get stuck into the nitty gritty of WHY SHOULD WE STRETCH?
This topic is very in depth and I found myself deep in numerous anatomical terms… but ill translate into normal everyday language and get the BEST points across to you quickly, because at the end of the day… the reason we don’t stretch; is cause were stuck on time!
When you finish reading this blog I’m going to get you to write down your new goals, look at your busy schedule and figure out how to make this stretching thing work!!
Okay let’s start with the line of an article I read by
‘Aloka Mehta Gambhir’, that I swear was written for me …
“Those of you in your 20s should keep this in mind: if you stretch a lot now, you will be in far better shape in a couple of decades. Consider stretching an investment in your future health, just as college was an investment in your future career.”
I definitely don’t want to be a stiff and sore lady past my 20’s!!
Shifting my focus to the future was nearly enough to convince me and stop me further researching, but lets take a look at it from an anatomical level, what’s the benefits of stretching on your life NOW?
Stretching is not just beneficial for the body… but also the mind!!
Stretching helps our bodies by…
- Improving flexibility, which increases your range of motion.
- The term “range of motion” refers to how far a joint of the body can reach comfortably. This enhances your ability to perform exercises in the gym, perform well in your sport, and decrease your risk of injury.
Tight muscles pull areas of the body away from their intended position, so by lengthening these tight muscles through stretches we can assist correct posture.
- Do you sit at a computer all day? Notice you get a hunched shoulder look? Many of us have tight chest muscles, which pulls the shoulders and head forward!
- Increase nutrient and blood supply to your muscles, hence reducing muscle soreness.
Hmmm I don’t want any of those thank you… my body says YES to stretching…. Now for the mind…
If you’re a busy bee like me… you may find yourself stressed often… so taking even the shortest amount of time to STOP and stretch can calm the heart rate down, ease a racing mind, provide a mental break and give your body a simple 15 minutes to recharge!
For me, I find if I attend a yoga class at least once a week, I HAVE TO STRETCH, Once you’re in the class you cant leave!! It’s someone telling you what to do, so you don’t have to think, and it’s a brilliant way to relax!!
I found the most amazing yoga teacher in my home town, If anyone lives on the central coast get in touch with Carrera Jones (http://carrerajones.com/yoga/) she has helped my body and mind to relax!!
So my tip to you, if your not disciplined to stretch… attend a yoga class!!
Other than stretching through yoga, the best and most important time to stretch is when your muscles are WARM!! Stretching a cold muscle can lead to injuries… so the perfect time to stretch is at the end of your workout!
Which I do at the end of every session with my clients!
Now its time for us to do it too!!
I have a challenge for you… This week you are going to dedicate just 10 mins or more to stretching at the end of a workout, make sure you hit every muscle group that was worked (and if you have some muscles that are still sore from yesterday’s workout, gently stretch them too). Lets feel and see the amazing benefits it has on our body!!
By stretching you can also increase your recovery rate, which will allow you to TRAIN HARDER, and when we train harder and smarter this lead to results FASTER!! In this day and age, everyone wants results FAST right?!! So lets look after our bodies more, lets dedicate more time to stretching, to relaxing, and to resting our MUSCLES!!
Thanks for reading my blog, by typing this I have encouraged and motivated myself, I sure hope it’s had the same effect on you!!