It’s not enough to build muscle, you need to acquire flexibility, too!
It’s a BIG MISTAKE that we all tend to do and a very important aspect of fitness that we all tend neglect!
We faultily assume that stretching should only be performed by runners or gymnasts!
But, Dr. David Nolan, a physical therapist at Harvard clearly claims that “A lot of people don’t understand that stretching has to happen on a regular basis. It should be daily.”
Why is Stretching So Important?
More Flexibility, Less Injury, Less Soreness:
Stretching improves your range of motion allowing for more flexible joints. This decreases the chances of injuries to occur during workouts or daily activities.
Stretching also aids the muscles by supplying them with an increased blood flow, and as a result, an increased nutrient supply as well. This, reduces muscle soreness and speeds up the recovery process.
The increased blood flow also improves your overall health!
Stretching lengthens tight muscles, keeping them loose and the different areas of your body in their intended positions.
Importantly, stretching the lower back, chest, and shoulders allows the spine to gain better alignment improving your overall posture.
The buildup of stress due to our daily activities also causes muscles to be stressed and contracted. This increases body tension making you feel uneasy.
Hence, stretching can provide a mental break that calms the mind and recharges it.
Stretching also increases the release of endorphins that give a sense of tranquility, satisfaction, and happiness.
When to Stretch?
For optimal results, STRETCH AFTER YOUR WORKOUT!
This is because your muscles should be warm before you stretch them.
For your daily 5-15min post workout stretching sessions and the weekly 45-60min ones, spend longer time on the muscles that are already more tight and tense.
How to Stretch?
These are some great stretching routines that you can incorporate to your post workout routines and on a weekly basis.
Stretching every once in a while won’t magically make your body more flexible!
You need to do remain committed to the process just like you’re committed to your workout routine!
“It may have taken you many months to get tight muscles, so you’re not going to be perfectly flexible after one or two sessions.” – Dr. David Nolan.
Ranim Daw, MS in Cell & Molecular Biology
American University of Beirut
March 25, 2017