Trainer Topics: Have you been stretching?

Calgary Personal Trainer: Zoe Tzitzoglakis
Today our trainer Zoe talks about the benefits of incorporating a stretching routine into your workout regime.

When clients come in stiff and sore to a session, usually the first question I ask is “have you been stretching”. It’s a practice that is so beneficial, yet so over looked when it comes to an exercise routine. Some might argue that stretching your muscles before and after activity is just as important as the activity itself.

Imagine your hand being your hamstring. Now close your hand into a fist and glue it shut. That is the act of what’s being done to a tightened and sore hamstring after a grueling leg day. Walking can seem like a challenge, because bending your leg out into extension is like trying to tear open your glued shut palm, it’s uncomfortable and it hurts. Now all of a sudden leg day shows up again and you’re still in pain! That is not the most motivating factor when going in to push through another workout. Going into an exercise with sore, bunched up muscles is not only a limiting factor for your ROM and ability to perform, but it’s a holiday recipe for injury.

Key benefits to stretching:
· Increases blood flow and nutrient supply to your muscles
· Can decrease DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness)
· Can decrease the risk of injury
· Assist in proper postural alignment
· Improves flexibility and ROM
· Stress relief
Stretching tips:
· Stretch when you are warmed up to avoid pulling any of those muscles
· Perform a stretch for 30-60 seconds and then slowly come out of it
· Focus on a slow controlled breathing pattern
· Take this time to relax

Over the holidays is when stress levels seem to rise and taking care of your physical health seems to decline. Stretching is not only amazing for your physical health, but for your mental health as well. Take 5-10 minutes after your workout, or at the end of your day to stretch, relax, and relieve some of that stress.

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