NB: Stretching is such an important part of exercising!
It is important that from a young age, kids start stretching properly, and as we age, equally important, so we maintain good muscle flexibility and a good range of motion in all of our joints.
The benefits: • Increasing flexibility; this makes preforming daily tasks, like lifting boxes, tying your shoe laces or running for the bus, easier and less tiring • Improving recovery; if your do stretches after your workouts it shortens your recovery time and helps your muscles not become as sore after • Preventing injuries; by lengthening your muscles there will be less stress and strain on them which in turn reduces risk of tears whilst exercising • Better posture; by stretching frequently your muscles will not get as tight and this will allow you to have a better posture and minimize aches and pains in the body
When it comes to posture, many of us struggle with it. We sit down a lot and our muscles tighten up as a result. Our shoulders roll forward, our backs are too round and our legs aren’t fully straightening out. With stretches it can bring us back to standing up straight with good posture which in turn makes our body’s look taller and leaner.
So what age should we start stretching?
In short; as young as possible. Even as young kids our muscles start to tighten up as we grow, so it is important to stretch with young kids (the best way is to make it fun for them by making it into a game or a challenge). As we get older our flexibility decreases but the good news is, it can be regained and maintained! So no matter what age you are it is beneficial to do stretches and keep your muscles flexible
When is the best time to do your stretches?
When your body is warm, so for example after a class or a personal training session. To get the best out of stretching; your muscles are best to be warmed up and loosened out. Even if you want to do some stretches at home, it is best to get your heart rate up a bit, if you’ve been up and moving so your muscles are already warmed up and ready so you can get the best out of the stretches. If you don’t have time and want to do a few stretches, that is fine just make sure you don’t stretch too deep to prevent and strains on the muscles. I would always advise to stay behind for a few minutes after doing a class or session to do a few stretches.
Two important things to remember whilst stretching;
1. Never bounce whilst doing them
2. Never stretch so far that it is painful
I hope that you learned something new and that you continue to stay injury free and happy!