We understand that most people are seriously crunched for time. Sometimes squeezing in a workout during your beyond-busy day seems like a true exercise in futility. Yet, somehow, you still make it happen. Kudos to you! But, now that you’re there, be sure to make the most of it by allowing yourself some time for something too many of us are tempted to overlook: all-important stretching.
When Should I Stretch?
Most people know that stretching is essential to prevent injury and to keep our muscles limber. But, so many people skimp on stretching (or skip it altogether) because they are pressed for time. Our sound advice? Don’t skip it! Even if it’s just 5-10 minutes before and after your workout, you’ll be glad you did.
Yes, that’s right before and after your workout.
How Should I Stretch?
Carefully. But seriously, you should know about two types of stretching because when and how you stretch is super-important. We’ll break stretching down into two types: “Dynamic Stretching” and “Static Stretching.” According to multiple sources, one is best performed before a workout, and one after your gym routine. But, do you know which is which? No worries, that’s what we’re here for. We’re sharers that way!
During dynamic stretching, you’re constantly moving, which its names implies. Because you’re constantly moving it provides a warm-up for the types of exercises you will be completing. So, you guessed it: Begin your workout with dynamic stretching.
Dynamic stretching mimics the movements of your actual workout, so you’re constantly moving. You’re even getting a mild cardio workout in the process. Runners, for example, might perform walking lunges or butt kicks to warm up those muscle groups that would be used while running. You’re revving your engine!
We’re guessing you can gather what static stretching is now, right? You want to stretch and hold your position in order to relax your muscles and promote flexibility after a workout. Think toe touches or hamstring stretches where you hold your pose for 10-30 seconds or more in the same position.
Plentiful. You will minimize injury, pulls, and strains for one. Static stretching will keep your body flexible and limber and some studies even suggest that dynamic stretching can bring about long-term performance gains and muscle growth.
Short story: When you’ve made the effort to make it to the gym, don’t skip stretching and risk injury. Just do it!