Stretching can be a great way to warm-up or cool-down before or after a great workout, or just as a daily wellness activity. Keeping your body limber has so many benefits, including better flexibility and joint range of motion, reduced risk of injury, improved circulation and posture among other things. However, if not done properly, it’s possible for stretching to do more harm than good. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of tips to incorporate stretching into your daily routine to help aid your body in becoming even healthier!
- Warm-Up: Many people like to start their workouts with a good stretch session and while this can feel good, stretching cold muscles can also cause strains and increased risk of injury, especially before a strength workout. To counteract this, we suggest using dynamic stretches before a workout rather than static stretches or if you insist on using static stretches prior to your workout, consider foam-rolling first or doing them inside a sauna. Just make sure you keep the session short to prevent dizziness and dehydration. The sauna is a great way to loosen muscles, but if you aren’t experienced with it, it’s advised to take it very slowly until you’re accustomed to sitting in such high humidity and heat.
- Cool-Down: This is the time when static stretching is actually recommended. Your muscles should be more than warmed up enough to hold static stretches and focus on getting in deep to those muscles, we also recommend adding some foam rolling after your workout too. Not only does it feel great but it will also loosen up the muscles further.
- Yin For The Win: There are tons of yoga videos available on sites like Youtube and Yin Yoga, in particular, focuses on holding static stretches for long periods of time (2-3 minutes or longer) it’s very tough but very therapeutic and contrary to typical advice, it’s actually been suggested to perform Yin Yoga when the body is “cold.”
- Pain = NO Gain: Stretching yourself to the point of pain defeats the purpose and could injure you. You should feel mild discomfort but not pain when stretching and a typical stretch session should last roughly 10 minutes and each stretch should only be held for roughly 10-30 seconds depending upon your physical level.
- Just Breathe: Breathing is an important aspect of stretching and can actually allow you to reach deeper into a stretch, but it’s actually fairly common for people to hold their breath while holding a stretch. Try not to do that and instead focus on taking deep breaths in and out, you’ll find the concept of stretching to be much more bearable when you breathe properly.
- Hold The Pose: It may feel good to “bounce” in a stretch, which is where you slightly come out of the stretch and then push back into it, but this can actually cause micro tears in your muscles that would actually defeat the health benefits of doing it in the first place, as to heal the tears, scar tissue can form which can actually cause you to be even less flexible.
Now that you know just how beneficial stretching is and you have some tips on how to incorporate it effectively, get to stretching. Even a couple times a week is a great way to start and before you know it, you’ll be more flexible. Speaking of flexible, our silicone rings are a great way to add a little flexibility into your life for comfort purposes. Now you won’t have to worry about your metal band scratching and pinching you while you focus on stretching your body. (Sorry, you know we had to throw in a shameless plug there!)