Often, the most neglected part of the workout is stretching.  I hated stretching when I played Little League Baseball, high school sports, and with my weight lifting and running as an adult.  Since 2014 after attending a yoga class with my brother and wife, I incorporated stretching to my daily routine. 

Today, as an avid gym goer and runner, I see many folks putting so much effort into that extra rep or minute on the treadmill that may potentially lead to an overuse injury and will require a visit to the doctor.  And of course, an injury will slow down your progress and/or possible delay a goal.  A few things to clarify:

  • DO DYNAMIC stretching before a workout.  STOP doing STATIC stretching before workouts. Do it after your workout and incorporate it with your cool down. 
    • Dynamic stretches help a person warm up muscles and joints prior to a workout, such as jumprope, relaxed jump shots (basketball), jumping jacks, burpees, jump squats, or a slow jog.  Yes, it is a warm up.
    • Static stretching is a held stretch for approximately 10-30 seconds or more, such as seated forward bend, quadriceps, forward lunge, side lunge, etc. 

I perform 7 SIMPLE POST EXERCISE STRETCHES for a thorough relaxation of the body that only requires 9 minutes.  I hold these postures for 30 seconds and repeat the sequence once or twice: 
(1) hanging stretch for the shoulders, back, chest, and the rest of the core 
(2) single leg reach for the hamstrings 
(3) single-arm chest opener for the pecs 
(4) standing forward bend for the hamstrings 
(5) yoga squat/malasana for hip openers 
(6) modified puppy pose 
(7) locust pose or upward facing dog to stretch your rectus abdominis and anterior core.  
Here is a link of a demonstration:

Do the stretches that feel comfortable for you and modify it to your physiological barriers.  Talk with your doctor before trying. 

Some studies have shown benefits with stretching but on the contrary, some studies have shown that it will not reduce muscle injuries. One study exhibited improvement in low back pain and another did not show improvement for achilles tendinopathy.   Here are some benefits: 

(a) improves flexibility 
(b) improves blood flow to your muscles 
(c) improves your range of motion 
(d) increases your performance in physical activities 
(e) treats and prevents back pain 
(f) stress reliever 
(g) attempts to correct poor posture 
(h) opportunity for meditation 
(i) calm down headaches due to stress. 
(j) calm muscles down and remove waste products
(l) reduce soreness

Personally, I feel more mobile and my body has been in the best shape that it has ever been. I have had quick recoveries from workouts and races due to my dedicated pre warm ups and post workout stretching. 

In conclusion, I love stretching and will ALWAYS make it a part of my workout routines.

Please see you doctor if you have further questions or before engaging in this activity.  Opinions are mine and do not reflect my employer, Geisinger.



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