Why I Stretch

I gotta be honest here people, for the longest time I would skip the stretching component of my workouts.

Really!

I figured I was busy and it wasn’t that important! I’m an active person surely my continued movement post workout would be enough of a cool down . . . it’s as good as stretching, right?

Wrong!

For the longest time I suffered with chronic knee pain. It was so intense it would keep me awake at night. At the time I had no idea why my knees were hurting so badly, but thought it best if I took a few weeks off exercise to give them a chance to recover.

In my time of rest I thought I would give myself a few days a week to work on stretching. Now, I have no patience when it comes to stretching on my own. Really . . . its terrible. Anyway, no patience . . . so I find it best to follow along with a DVD if I can’t make it to a yoga or stretch class.

Within a week of doing 3 extended stretch classes my knees felt to much better. No longer keeping me awake at night and I actually felt strong enough to start training again.

It was enough to open my eyes to the important of stretching. Really even just 5-10 mins at the end of your workout. Totally worth it.

Why is stretching so important?

– Well, stretching releases synovial fluid which is stored in your joints. What this fluid does is lubricate all of your joints, which in turn protects them from friction and injury. Awesome right?

– Stretching will also help to bring increased blood supply to your muscles which will improve your endurance. Improved endurance means you won’t tire as easily during your workouts. Love that!

– Stretching should also be used as a way to warm up your muscles as it increases blood flow, which will then provide your muscles with an increased oxygen supply (as well as many other nutrients) required to help them to keep going throughout your workout.

– Stretching has also proven to be a useful way to alleviate pain. Which I can attest to 100%.
– Also, if your aiming to build some lean muscle then stretching is extra important because it will enable you to move through your full range of motion with greater ease. This will then help you to build full and long muscles instead of them becoming stunted and short. Long and lean . . . yes please!

– Not only will stretching increase the range of motion while performing exercise, it will also help to increase range of motion and flexibility in general which will in turn make your activities of daily living much easier.

– Stretching will also help to keep your muscles and tendons nice and limber which can help prevent a pulled muscle or tendon. If your more flexible in general then the chances of your having an accident resulting in a pulled or torn muscle because your body is capable of reaching that position.

Seriously whats not to love?

And that’s not to mention the relaxation and quiet time of meditation you can also get while you are stretching. Bliss I tell you, b-l-i-s-s.

There are a few different types of stretching you can do but I won’t get all technical on you. I just strongly encourage you to get out there and give it a read hot go. Even if its just 10 mins. Totally worth it.

A few tips to keep in mind while your stretching if your doing it at home (or in a gym) on your own –

– Breathe slowly, deeply, evenly

– Stretching should never be painful, a little uncomfortable is ok but painful . . . no deal

– Concentrate on relaxing the area being stretched, visualise the muscle letting go or any discomfort and tension as your exhale.

If you, like me struggle to stretch on your own I highly recommend you invest in a few good quality yoga/stretch DVDs. My favourites are TurboFire Stretch 40 – seriously I have used this DVD so much it would have been worth the investment of the total workout program just for this one DVD. I know I totally got my money’s worth out of it anyway.

My other favourite is P90X Stretch – heaven!

Or look around for a yoga class you can join at a gym or rec center close by.

You are worth the extra time and effort. Your body will thank you for it :)

How often do you take time out to stretch?

About Emma

9 Responses to “Why I Stretch”

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  1. Karen says:

    Hi Emma!
    I just learned of you and Stacy while doing the 42 Days to Fit challenge with Brandy over at the Marathon Mom. I made it to the end and came very close to meeting my weight-loss goal. I extended a seventh week and now have just one more pound to lose. BUT, in the process, I have become hooked on working out! I have been a walker for a few years now, but had neglected strength training, and thought that I could never be a runner. You two really nudged me to get out of my lazy loop and really work my body. It has been great and I am seeing so much improvement. So now I am moving on and I did your lower body workout the first two strength-training days this week. WOW! I still have a long way to go to be in shape I found out.

    But really, I just wanted to say that stretching is my very favorite part of a workout! It is so awesome to feel those muscles stretch out after being worked and I look at it as almost a treat after working hard. Maybe I’m weird, but I really look at it that way.

    Thank you so much for the direction and instruction you supplied during the 42 days. I am now doing HIIT cardio all three days per week, rather than just 1 and I do strength training for the other three, resting on Sundays. I am so happy to be getting in better shape and although it is tough, I am encouraged that I still have a long way to go to be in great shape. I’m looking forward to seeing what you have ahead and continuing to exercise with you!

    • Emma says:

      Karen that’s great – congratulations!

      I agree, stretching is like dessert for my body. I love it :)

      Hearing your progress honestly just made my day, I am thrilled for you.

      Seriously well done :)

  2. Jess says:

    I admit, I skip the stretching 9 times out of 10. I guess I just took for granted how flexible I was during my sports career. Now that I am ten years out from my old life, I am so stiff! Ahh! Sure way to get more injuries. Thanks for the other tips about why stretching is good!

Trackbacks

  1. […] skip the stretch people, it’s like dessert for your body. I know I’ve talked before about how much I love it, stretching really is one of the best things you can do for your body […]

  2. […] skip the stretch people, it’s like dessert for your body. I know I’ve talked before about how much I love it, stretching really is one of the best things you can do for your body – […]

  3. […] skip the stretch, it’s like dessert for your body. I know I’ve talked before about how much I love it, stretching really is one of the best things you can do for your body – […]

  4. […] skip the stretch, it’s like dessert for your body. I know I’ve talked before about how much I love it, stretching really is one of the best things you can do for your body – […]

  5. […] skip the stretch, it’s like dessert for your body. I know I’ve talked before about how much I love it, stretching really is one of the best things you can do for your body – […]

  6. […] skip the stretch; it’s like dessert for your body. I know I’ve talked before about how much I love it, stretching really is one of the best things you can do for your body – […]